Chiffchaff

Irish Name: Tiuf-teaf
Scientific name: Phylloscopus collybita
Bird Family: Warblers
green
Conservation status

Status

A common and widespread summer visitor (April to September) to woodlands, as well as a common passage migrant and scarce winter visitor.

Identification

Very similar to Willow Warbler and about the same size as that species. Ages and sexes identical. Largely dull greenish above, slightly paler below. Has faint supercilium and dark eyestripe, as well as a narrow white eyering. Legs are usually dark, though pale-legged birds have been noted. In comparison to Willow Warbler, note duller green colour, dark legs, call and behaviour - frequently dips tail. Chiffchaffs from Scandinavia and Siberia can appear (rarely) on autumn passage in Ireland, these being almost pure white underneath and brown-grey above.

Voice

A rather vocal species. The most frequently heard call is a quiet “hu-it”. This is rather similar to that of the Willow Warbler and some experience is required to separate the two species on call alone. The song is a distinctive “tsilp-tsulp-tsilp-tsulp”, (i.e. “chiff-chaff”) usually repeated five or six times.

Diet

Feeds almost exclusively on insects and other invertebrates.

Breeding

Not as common or widespread as the Willow Warblers with Chiffchaffs favouring deciduous woodlands and well vegetated hedgerows for breeding rather than boggy or marshy areas.

Wintering

The majority of the Irish breeding population migrate south to winter around the Mediterranean basin. A few may remain throughout the year along the south and east coasts, especially during milder winters.

Monitored by

Countryside Bird Survey.

Similar Species

Willow Warbler

Irish Name:
Ceolaire sailí
Scientific name:
Phylloscopus trochilus
Bird Family:
Warblers

Wood Warbler

Irish Name:
Ceolaire coille
Scientific name:
Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Bird Family:
Warblers