© Philip Steiner
© Qin Huang
© James Kennerley
© Thomas Job

Spotted Bush Warbler Locustella thoracica

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Furtive brown warbler. Brown above and pale below, with a striped vent. Namesake spotting is variable; Himalayan birds have a necklace of dark spots, while central Chinese birds have a much lighter stippled patch on the chest. Extremely difficult to tell apart from non-singing Baikal Bush Warbler where the two overlap: in Spotted, look for a stronger gray wash on the neck and chest, and warmer-toned upperparts. Sichuan and Chinese Bush Warblers can also be similar, but average more warmly-colored, with plainer underparts. Spotted Bush Warbler breeds in dense, shrubby, stunted growth near treeline and winters in reedbeds, wet meadows, and grassy edges. Furtive and skulking; listen for its song, a long series of curious, echoing, clicking phrases: “pritti-kee-kee-dee, pritti-kee-kee-dee.”