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For the first time an entire genus has been analysed phylogenetically (DNA-DNA analysis) to accurately determine the interrelationships of its members. The results of this laboratory work have been coupled with extensive field and museum research. The result is the most complete study of the genus Sylvia. Two new species have been described based on the results of ten years' work, and identification criteria established for all members of the family. The species accounts include sections on every aspect of identification, with colour illustrations showing age, sex and racial differences, distribution maps, sonagrams, moult and wing diagrams, and tables. Part scientific monograph, part identification guide, this is a ground-breaking volume.