How do you tell the difference between a Willow Warbler and a Chiffchaff? No…that’s not the first line of a joke and sorry but I don’t have a humorous reply. The only reply I’ve got is “with difficulty if they’re not singing”.
The best way to tell the difference between these two summer visitors is to get a look at them and if they look like a Chiffchaff but are not singing ‘chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff’ then it’s likely to be a Willow Warbler.
The next step is to learn its song and hopefully this short video will help.
Willow Warbler 6 facts:
- The Willow Warbler has a liquid warbling song which descends in pitch but rises in volume.
- It builds a dome shaped nest.
- Three of its tiny eggs weigh the same as a 1 pence piece (each egg is 1.2g).
- Unusually they do a full feather moult twice a year.
- We have about 2 million breeding pairs arriving back in the UK each summer making it our most abundant warbler, suprisingly more common than the Chiffchaff.
- The Willow Warblers’ legs are lighter than the Chiffchaff – so remember: ‘The dirty legged chiffchaff are the warbler riff-raff’.
Here is a link to: How to separate Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs
Here is another: Willow Warbler ‘v’ Chiffchaff video from the BTO
If only all birds could repeatedly shout out their name like the Chiffchaff does, birding would be so much easier.