Bird of the month – May 2023

Have you seen the bird of the month?

For May it is the Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)


Where can I find them?

They are less common and primarily a spring\summer visitor. 

The best places to look and see them along the Valley Floor and in tress around the lake area.

About the species

The Chiffchaff is a member of the warbler family, small and olive-brown in colour.   It also has a sark eye stripe through the eye.  It is known to be very active and can been seen fliting through trees and shrubs.

They migrate to the UK from Africa; however some now stay all year-round in the UK.

They weigh around 10g and live for an average of five years.

Their diet is made up of mostly insects and invertebrates.  Flies, midges and caterpillars form a large part of their diets.

The species is on the UK green list, meaning its population is currently stable.

There is another species, very similar to the Chiffchaff called the Willow Warbler.  In Vinters Valley Nature Reserve, we only have the rare visit from Willow Warblers.  The best way to distinguish them apart is by their song.

What do they sound like?

Their song is like their name “chiff chaff” or “zilp zalp”

Where do they nest and what is the nest made from?

The female does all the nest building.  The nest is domed in share and built on or very close to the ground, in tall grass, bushes or brambles.  Dead vegetation is used to build the nest with feathers used to line it.

Incubation of the eggs is by the female only and take around 14 days.  The young will fledge around 15 days after hatching.