The Common Chiffchaff is a small, dumpy, 10-12 cm (4 in) long leaf warbler. The male weighs 7-8 g and the female 6-7 g. The spring adult of the western nominate subspecies has brown-washed dull green upperparts, off-white underparts becoming yellowish on the flanks, and a short whitish supercilium. It has dark legs, a fine dark bill.

Habitat and Distribution

They breed across Europe and Asia east to eastern Siberia and north to about 70?N, northwest Africa, northern and western Turkey and northwestern Iran. It is migratory. When breeding, it is a bird of open woodlands with some taller trees and ground cover for nesting purposes. Other habitats include scrub, near water surfaces. It winters in coastal southern England and the mild urban microclimate of London.


It is insectivorous, moving restlessly though foliage or briefly hovering. It eats flies from more than 50 families, as well as small invertebrates. It will take the eggs and larvae of butterflies and moths.


They build a dome shaped nest that has a side entrance, and is constructed from coarse plant material such as dead leaves and grass, with finer material used in the interior. The clutch is two to seven cream-coloured eggs which have tiny ruddy, purple or blackish spots. They are incubated by the female for 13-14 days.

Calls and Songs

This warbler gets its name from its simple distinctive song, a repetitive cheerful chiff-chaff. Its call is a hweet.