Willow Warbler: Identification, Habitat, and Feeding Tips

Willow Warbler: Identification, Habitat, and Feeding Tips

The Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) is a small delicate bird and looks very similar to Chiffchaffs but they are a bit more slender. They have grey-green backs, pale yellow under parts, the chest and throat have a yellow tinged and there is a light coloured stripe over the eye.

Telling these two warblers apart is extremely tricky visually, and can only be identified by their song. The Willow Warbler makes a sound which comprises of a tinkling, descending phrase that ends in a slight flourish, while the Chiffchaff is identified by their distinctive call which is a simple two-syllables “chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff”.

The Willow Warbler is the most widespread and most common of British summer visitors, and they arrive in the UK during April and leave in September.

They can be found all over the country in woodlands, farmland, scrubs heathland parks and gardens and it nests in most parts of the country, even in areas that don’t contain many trees.

The Willow Warbler Bird

They eat a variety of insects, their eggs and larvae, spiders and they will also eat fruit and berries.

Berry flavoured suet pellets have extra goodness in the shape of high-energy mixed berries. They are smaller than our Insect suet pellets but can also be fed from our standard tube –type seed feeder and are an easy treat for the birds.

They will also love live mealworms which are vegetarian larvae and are clean and odourless. Mealworms are rich in protein (48%) and fat (40%) and are relished by many species of bird. Live mealworms can be kept for up to 14 days in a very cool place - many people keep them in the fridge!

Their population, especially in southern Britain, has undergone a moderate decline over the past 25 years making them an Amber List species. So keeping the bird feeders topped up may attract them more to your garden.

If you are fortunate to have one of these delightful little songbirds visit your garden, why not listen out for them singing their melodious song they are a joy to be heard.

Written by Tina Jakes



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