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Dartford Warbler

Observed: 1st October 2011 By: ranon.2011ranon.2011’s reputation in Birdsranon.2011’s reputation in Birdsranon.2011’s reputation in Birdsranon.2011’s reputation in Birdsranon.2011’s reputation in Birds
01.10.2011 Dartford Warbler (13)
01.10.2011 Dartford Warbler (13) 1

There were two Dartford Warblers and both were accomanied by Stonechats. The Stonechats appeared to keep watch whilst the Warblers fed in the gorse and brambles.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


bobthebirder's picture

dartfords and stonechats

I've noticed this relationship as well. It's a good way to find Dartfords if you're in their habitat - look for the stonechats and the Dartfords will be underneath. I don't think the stonechats are doing it deliberately; it's just that the Dartfords are using the stonechat's alarm calls to alert them of danger.

Bob Ford

ranon.2011's picture

Bobthebirder: It is very

Bobthebirder: It is very interesting and I think there may be some deliberate actions here because if the Warbler moved a distance away, the Stonechats would fly off and land near to where the Warblers were feeding. I also noticed that the Warblers tended to feed in the undergrowth under or near to the Stonechats. I spent more than 90 minutes watching these and the Stonechats (nearly) always picked high perches. The birds are very easy to watch in this small area of scrub and grassland and getting them iin the sun is the hardest part. One Stonechat perched with one metre of where I was snapping and seemed totally indifferent. Maybe someone with a decent video could capture these scenes. And Tanks.

bobthebirder's picture


That is interesting. I've never noticed stonechats following dartfords, I thought it was always the other way round but I'll look more closely next time. Also interesting that you still have Dartfords in Boscombe. This is a peripheral site well away from their main breeding areas to the west of Poole harbour. Not many of these birds survived last winter.

Bob Ford

ranon.2011's picture

It is only in the last couple

It is only in the last couple of weeks that they have been around here (this spot anyway), so perhaps they are moving through to winter quarters and making use of the many Stonechats that are around this area.

ranon.2011's picture

I watched again today and saw

I watched again today and saw a benefit that the Stonechats are gaining. As the Dartford Warblers forages in the gorse and brambles they disturb larger insects that the Stonechats pick off easily. I saw this both today and yesterday.

Graham James's picture

Dartfords and Stonechats

I have witnessed this behaviour during the winter months and it seemed the Dartford Warblers follow the Stonechats and only feed when the chats are perched in prominent positions, presumably for protection as has already been suggested. I have not seen this behaviour on heathland where both species breed though.