Willow warblers come under the category of “small birds.” Their species generally have yellow or pale-colored underparts, whereas the rest of the plumage is on the green-grey side. Their chest contains a hint of yellow and also the throat. In addition, they have pale legs. Pale supercilium, which means “Stripe over the eye,” is also the main distinguishing factor about willow warblers.
Willow warblers can be easily identified in woodlands, parks, suburbs, and gardens as small, slim birds. Above the tree canopies, you can easily hear them singing in their melodious voices. Though these birds are small in size, they are “Migratory birds.” Willow warblers mate and breed in Europe, whereas they flee to Southern Africa when winter approaches.
The Willow warbler is not just an ordinary bird, and it’s a pretty strange bird species as they shed all their feathers not once but twice in a single year. In addition, they molt for the first time in the breeding ground, whereas the second session takes place on their migratory grounds. Why they do so is still unclear to ornithologists.
Like all other warblers, they also feed on insects and hence are “Insectivores,” but they also eat fruits and berries in their respective seasons.
Willow warblers are often mistaken with chiffchaff because of their same singing melodies.
However, the willow warbler’s population has acknowledged an inevitable decrease in South Britain over the past twenty-five years. That is why these birds are making their place in “Amber list species.”
Willow warbler identification:
Willow warblers (Phylloscopus trochilus) are petite birds; the upper parts of these birds are grey, whereas the underparts are pale yellow. They also have a very prominent stripe above the eye and a cream-colored belly. These birds look very similar to the chiffchaffs, as they are also olive in color, and belong to the same category, ‘warblers.’
Thereby, the main distinguishing factor between these two is their song. The chiff-chaff’s song consists of its particular: “Chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff.” The other specific factor between these two birds is their legs. The legs of a willow warbler are lighter in color, primarily pale. On the other hand, chiffchaff’s legs are dark-colored, especially dark grey or sooty, with a longer paler bill and longer primary projection.
Willow warbler habitat:
The scientific name of the willow warbler is “Phylloscopus trochilus.” This bird is a typical leaf warbler, found in Northern and temperate Europe, the Palearctic, Eastern Ireland, Eastern Siberia, and the river basin Anadyr. It is a strict migratory bird and spends its winter in sub-Saharan Africa.
The most general habitat of these singing birds is birch, alder, and willow. In winters, they migrate towards Southern Africa. They love to live in open woodlands with extensive trees and ground cover.
Willow warbler’s nest:
They build their nest in low vegetation, where they can be in close contact with the ground. Their nests are different from the others and are rather distinctive. The nest is in the shape of a “dome” that contains a space or cavity on the side.
These eggs look very familiar to ancient ovens. The eggs are tiny in size and are incubated in this nest. Their eggs are so small and lightweight that the three eggs, when weighed collectively, weigh equal to a penny.
The egg’s surface is very smooth and glossy. However, they do contain speckle-like red-brown spots. Females are responsible for the incubation, whereas, after the eggs hatch, both parents feed and take care of their young ones.
Questions and Answers
What does a willow warbler look like?
They are olive-colored warblers, having an off-white belly with a more elegant shape than the chiffchaffs. Their brown head looks spectacular with a striped eye, and their legs are also light in color, primarily pale or skin-like. The length brown wings of a warbler give it a streamlined wing appearance. Weighting nine grams, these birds are categorized as small, slim, and strongly migratory birds.
What is the diet of a willow warbler?
It is a widespread summer visitor and active in the daytime, feeding on insects and various spiders. However, as autumn approaches and trees bear fruits, then they do eat berries and fruits.
How does willow warbler breed?
They build a dome-shaped nest when they are on breeding grounds. A couple produces three eggs in a clutch, and the eggs are shiny, small, and extremely lightweight. Both greenish-brown parents have the responsibility of feeding.
How do warbler songs and calls sound?
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus song is a simple repetitive descending whistle. You may have heard their song unintentionally because it is used extensively in Hollywood movies when they have to depict or open a scene for summers. Their warbling song is also a ubiquitous tune that we hear in parks. They do not come under the category of non-singing birds.