Willow Warbler

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


A summer visitor from April to September.


Very similar to Chiffchaff and about the same size as that species. Ages and sexes appear largely the same. Pale green above, with a thin yellow supercilium and dark eyestripe. The undersides are lemon-yellow, some juveniles being darker yellow in autumn. The legs pink, though some may legs as dark as those of Chiffchaff. In comparison to Chiffchaff, note the paler undersides, brighter upperparts and the call/song.


A soft “hu-it” similar to that of the Chiffchaff. The song differs markedly from that of the Chiffchaff and is the easiest way of separating these similar species. It is a very pleasing, descending series of notes, which is frequently repeated.


Feeds almost exclusively on insects and other invertebrates.


One of the commonest breeding birds in Ireland (about 1 million pairs), with the highest densities in stands of willows along the edges of bogs and marshes. Less frequently in hedgerows, forests and well-vegetated gardens.


Willow Warblers winter in central and southern Africa. There are no winter records of Willow Warblers in Ireland.

Monitored by

Countryside Bird Survey.

Similar Species


Irish Name:
Scientific name:
Phylloscopus collybita
Bird Family:

Wood Warbler

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