Chiffchaff

Phylloscopus collybita
Similar Species
Willow Warbler
Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide
Play call/song
More yellow and olive
Sings from low perch
Hovers to catch insects
Yellowish legs
Does not bob tail down
Wood Warbler
Distinctive green back
Yellow breast
Yellow eye stripe
Brownish wings
Long, often drooped wing tips
Distinctive song and singing posture
Bonelli's Warbler (Rare)
Whiter underside
Plainer head
Grey brown legs
Faint pale line over eye
Likes upland conifers
Yellow rump in flight
Garden Warbler
Mostly pale buff brown
Short thick bill
Large dark eye
Slower heavy mover
No eye stripe
Eats berries
Icterine Warbler (Rare)
Broad orange-pink bill
Pale lemon underside
Grey legs
Faint pale line over eye
Large head
Long square tail
Melodious Warbler (Rare)
Dark wings
Large dark eye/pale face
Grey brown legs
Similar to Icterine
Long round wings in flight
Upper parts green
Compare willow warbler and chiffchaff heads
Willow Warbler (left), Chiffchaff (right): Compare head shape and eyestripe
This bird has the typical dull, greyish appearance of a Chiffchaff, the dark legs and dumpy appearance confirm the birds identity. This photo also illustrates how distinctive the birds eye ring can be.
Willow warbler
No yellow except underwing
Light buff eye stripe
Buff breast and sides
Warm buff behind eye
Winter visitor to UK
Siberian Chiffchaff (Rare)
Wood Warbler
Icterine warbler
Melodious Warbler
Bonelli's warbler
Garden Warbler
Siberian Chiffchaff
Warbler Menu
Thanks to: www.flickr.com/photos/rainbirder/ (Modified)
Thanks to: www.flickr.com/photos/sussexbirder/ (Modified)
Willow Warblers wing length
Chiffchaff wing length
Thanks to: www.flickr.com/photos/ferranp/ (Modified)
Thanks to: www.flickr.com/photos/sussexbirder/ (Modified)
Willow Warbler (left), Chiffchaff (right): Note the difference in wing lengths and wing posture, the Willow Warblers primary feathers are much longer.
Short pale eye stripe, plain ear coverts
Round head
Note the dark legs, faint eye stripe, eye ring and dumpy appearance. This photo clearly illustrates the Chiffchaffs round head shape.
Short wings
Underside buff, can be yellowish
Blackish legs
White eye ring
Willow Warbler Chiffchaff
Eye stripe Long/yellow Short/pale
Body shape sleek dumpy
Wing length Long Short
Tail bobbing Infrequent Always
Leg colour Pale Blackish
Wing panel Greenish Uniform
Ear coverts Mottled Plain
Eye ring Faint Distinct
Head shape Flat Round
Dumpy build
Frequent tail bobbing
Willow Warbler or Chiffchaff?
Thanks to: www.flickr.com/photos/aigledayres/ (Modified)
Adult Male and Female
Distribution:
Very common and widespread summer visitor to Northern Europe and the UK but does not breed in the far North of Scotland.

Habitat:
Frequenting scrub, hedges, orchards, and woodland.
Notes:
The Chiffchaff's name is derived from it's repetitive call: chiff chaff chaff chip chap chiff chep, and this is the best method of identification. A widespread summer visitor which has become resident in the South West of England, the Chiffchaff can be seen in any area of woodland or scrub. The Chiffchaff has a distinctive downward bob of the tail which can help separate it from the very similar Willow Warbler.
Order: Passeriformes

Family: Phylloscopidae

Genus: Phyllosccopus

Species: p.(collybita) tristis