Willow Warbler

Phylloscopus trochilus



The Willow Warbler is slender with pale pinkish-yellow legs, a light-yellow strip over the eye and a dark strip through it. Adults are olive-green above, yellowish white underneath with a yellow throat; yellow markings pale through summer. Markings are more vivid than the Chiffchaff, and the primary feathers go further down the body. Juveniles resemble adults, but they're paler overall but a more distinct yellow underneath.


Breeding occurs in forests, immature woodland, margins of moorland, and scrub.


Singing perches are often fairly conspicuous perches, though these birds are otherwise quite timid, scampering between covered areas.


Diet includes flies, caterpillars, beetles, spiders and midges, and berries when available.


Males may have multiple female mates and may even occasionally have more than one brood. Female lays 4-8 eggs at the end of April or start of May, and she incubates them for 12-14 days. Both parents feed the young, which learn to fly after about 13-16 days.


The Willow Warbler is the species that visits Britain in the largest numbers, with 2.4 million pairs arriving during the UK summer (between March and June) and up to 1 million in Ireland. Birds may carry out long migrations, some travelling from Siberia to Africa. Most birds spend winter in Africa.

Observation Tips

The Willow Warbler's song a well-known sound of spring in the UK, however is faced with a silent birds, the leg colour can help to distinguish the species. These birds have pale legs compared to the Chiffchaff's dark ones.


The Willow Warbler has a 'hueet' call, and a jangly, descending song that concludes with a flourish. The song is often repeated over and over during springtime.
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