Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Chiffchaff, Cornwall, England, September 2002 - click for larger image

The Common Chiffchaff breeds throughout most of Europe and into Siberia and northern Iran. Most populations are migratory and move south from these breeding areas to winter round the Mediterranean, Africa and northern India.

They arrive in their breeding areas in March-April and move south over a longish period starting in August. See the distribution map at Birdlife International.

Chiffchaff, Kato Zacro, Crete, October 2002 - click for larger image Both of these photos show birds during autumn. The first is in Cornwall in September and the second is in Crete in October. At this time of year they tend to show more buffy-brown on the flanks.

They are very similar to Willow Warbler and the best diagnostic feature is their song: "chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff". Visually look for the dark legs.

It is essentially a woodland bird and is less attracted to low, scrubby types of habitat than Willow Warbler.
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