This small passerinebird is a species found in open-canopy oakwoods, olive groves, orchards and almond plantations. Three or four eggs are laid in a nest in a low tree or a bush.
This is a medium-sized warbler, similar to in size to the barred warbler, with a slightly longer bill and shorter tail. It is the largest Hippolais warbler, with a heavy bill, rather flat crown, long wings, and heavy legs. The adult has a dusty- or brownish-grey back and wings, and dusty-white underparts.
It feeds on invertebrates. Its song is a succession of loud creaks and squawks, lower in pitch than other Hippolais warblers, and slower in delivery.
The genus name Hippolais is from Ancient Greekhupolais, as misspelt by Linnaeus. It referred to a small bird mentioned by Aristotle and others and may be onomatopoeic or derived from hupo,”under”, and laas, “stone”. The specific olivetorum is Latin for “of the olive groves “.