Bird of Interest 3 – ChiffChaff

This tiny warbler bird is probably best known for its song. The ChiffChaff (Phylloscopus collybita) is a restless feeder, constantly on the move among foliage in search of invertebrates. There is limited sexual dimorphism, meaning that the two sexes look remarkably similar in appearance.

Adult and juvenile birds have grey-brown upper parts and pale, greyish underparts that are suffused yellow-buff, particularly on the throat and breast. The bill is thin and needle like, and the legs are black, the latter feature being the most reliable source of separation from the superficially similar Willow Warbler.

The best way of identifying the bird however, is the unmistakable song – and continually repeated chiff-chaff  or tsip-tsap.

Chiffchaff by Joe Pell, on Flickr

The ChiffChaff is mainly a summer visitor to the region, and an estimated several hundred thousand pairs probably breed here, and the species is the most common in the Southern half of Britain. During its breeding season, it is associated with deciduous woodland with a dense understory of shrubs.

Reference List:

  • Sterry.P., (2004) Collins Complete Guide to British Birds. Harper Collins Publishing Ltd, London.