Male Chiffchaff

Chiffchaff

Scientific name: Phylloscopus collybita

Did you know: Chiffchaffs can mimic the songs of up to 20 different bird species, helping them establish territories and attract mates!

What Do Chiffchaffs Look Like? (how to identify them)

Chiffchaffs are petite birds, generally olive-brown above and pale below, measuring around 10 to 11 cm in length with a wingspan of 14 to 21 cm. They have a notable white eyering and a black beak, contrasted with cream or buff feathers. 

Their tail is distinctive for its constant flicking motion when perched.

Differences Between Male and Female Chiffchaffs

Male and female Chiffchaffs are similar in appearance, but the males can be distinguished by their louder and more frequent ‘chiff-chaff’ calls. Both genders exhibit a brownish-grey crown and the same light underparts, but the females typically have a subtler version of the male’s call.

What Do Chiffchaffs Eat?

Chiffchaffs primarily feast on insects and spiders. They skillfully pluck their prey from trees or capture them mid-flight, showcasing their agility and precision.

Where Do Chiffchaffs Live? (inc. migration info)

Chiffchaffs are found in a variety of habitats including woodlands, parks, and gardens across Europe. They breed mainly in the northern and temperate regions and migrate to southern Europe, Asia, and North Africa for the winter. 

Remarkably adaptive, they can also be found in urban and suburban areas.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Chiffchaffs)

The ‘chiff-chaff’ sound from which these birds derive their name is a simple yet distinctive song that echoes through their habitat. This repetitive tune is not only a means of communication but also a marker of their presence in the area.

Fun Chiffchaff Facts (kid friendly)

  • Chiffchaffs are known for their energetic tail flicks, which are visible as they perch on branches.
  • They can imitate the songs of other birds, sometimes up to 20 different species!
  • Females build dome-shaped nests near the ground, camouflaged with leaves and lined with feathers.
  • Despite their small size, Chiffchaffs travel thousands of miles during their migration.
  • These birds have adapted to live not only in forests but also in urban areas, making them quite versatile.
  • They can live up to 2 years, which is notable for such small birds.

Chiffchaff Video

Facts About The Chiffchaff

Diet: They eat insects and spiders
Bird Family: Warblers
Length: 10 - 11cm
Wingspan: 14 - 21cm
Weight: 6 - 10g
Scientific Name: Phylloscopus collybita

The Chiffchaff Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Chiffchaff Images

Male Chiffchaff Male
Female Chiffchaff Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile