The garden warbler (Sylvia borin) is a common and widespread small bird that breeds in most of Europe and in western Asia.
The preferred breeding habitat in Eurasia is open woodland with dense low cover for nesting; despite its name, gardens are rarely occupied by this small passerine bird. The clutch of four or five blotched cream or white eggs is laid in a robust cup-shaped nest built near the ground and concealed by dense vegetation.
The genus Sylvia, the typical warblers, forms part of a large family of Old World warblers, the Sylviidae. Fossils from France show that the genus dates back at least 20 million years.The garden warbler and its nearest relative, the blackcap, are an ancient species pair which diverged very early from the rest of the genus, between 12 and 16 million years ago. In the course of time, these two species have become sufficiently distinctive that they have been placed in separate subgenera, with the blackcap in subgenus Sylvia and the garden warbler in Epilais. These sister species have a breeding range which extends farther northeast than all other Sylvia species except the lesser whitethroat and common whitethroat.
The nearest relatives of the garden warbler outside the sister group are believed to be the African hill babbler and Dohrn’s thrush-babbler, both of which should probably be placed in Sylvia rather than their current genera, Pseudoalcippe and Horizorhinus respectively.