Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler: Spot the Difference

Williow warbler in full songChiffchaffs and willow warblers have been back in the country for a while now, and are singing their little heads off… which is a good thing… because the song is the most reliable way of telling these two very similar species apart. If you don’t hear them, getting a positive ID on that willow-chaff can be a tricky proposition.

Luckily there are some pointers to look out for.

I could go on to describe the various plumage and anatomical features in some detail (i.e. transcribe from my copy of the Collins Bird Guide or Advanced Bird ID Guide: The Western Palearctic – a bird book without pictures, must be for grown-ups) but I reckon the good folks at the BTO do a much better job than I could in this short YouTube video.

(Hat tip to the guys on the Birdwatch Ireland page on Facebook for pointing this video out a couple of weeks ago)

About Calvin Jones

Calvin Jones is a freelance writer, author, birder and lifelong wildlife enthusiast. He is founder and managing editor of He is also the tour leader and wildlife guide on our West Cork based Discover Wildlife tours.
Calvin is also co-author of bestselling digital marketing titles and offers digital business consulting services and training through Digital Marketing Success

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