sdburhouse's picture

Cetti's Warbler?

Observed: 7th August 2013 By: sdburhousesdburhouse’s reputation in Birdssdburhouse’s reputation in Birds

Struggling to identify this bird. To me it looks most like a Cetti's warbler due to its pointed dark tipped beak, orange/red legs and white/light grey throat. It was also seen near to wetlands. However it was sighted in Nottingham and i have read they are confined to southern regions of the UK.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Mydaea's picture

A willow-chiff.

A willow-chiff.

sdburhouse's picture

Does this mean it could be a

Does this mean it could be a willow warbler or a chiff chaff? I assumed it wasn't a chiff chaff as they have black legs.


darob57's picture


'Willow-chiff' is used when it's not clear whether it's a Willow Warbler of Chiff-chaff. Often these two are notoriously difficult to seperate, unless seen singing of course.

Incidentally there are Cetti's Warblers at Attenborough Nature Reserve, most often heard and very occasionally seen, near the 'upstairs' bird hide.

The bird in the photos doesn't seem to have the warm brown look or the fan-like tail of Cetti's, although the photos are a little dark.


ahb's picture

Mystery bird

The outer tail feathers look almost whitish to me. Perhaps just translucent?

Certainly not easy to ID from these photos.


Alan Brampton (Benson)

Ray Turner's picture

Agree Willowchaff

I’m sort of familiar with Cetti’s, or as near as can be with this bird, as we are blessed with several at the London Wetland Centre and this just doesn’t look right for a Cetti’s. As Dave points out it seems lacking in warmth though admittedly hard to tell from these photos.

I would agree with willowchaff, it’s going to be one of these, and I think that’s about as far as you can go safely. However if you were going to twist my arm there is a hint of strong supercilium behind the eye and the legs are light coloured so it might, just might, be a Willow.

Word of warning with Willow v Chiff many of the features regular field guides give as diagnostic, leg colour, cleanness of flank etc are so variable in both species as to make them very dubious for identification. Best diagnostic is of course song, again as Dave points out, second best is primary projection, this is how much the primary feathers of the wing stick out from the others. Large (and generally longer wings) is a willow, short a chiff but you do need a good view to determine this.

Oh and yes I think your right with the tail feathers being translucent against the light.



sdburhouse's picture


Thank you all for your comments. After looking again at willow warblers online instead of in my book i agree its probably most likely this species. It wasnt singing when i saw it, although it did make a few noises which i tried to record on my phone but it must have been shy! Thank you again, i've learnt a lot.