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Field Guide for all the Birds of North America

Common Chiffchaff

Pouillot véloce

Phylloscopus collybita

Information, images and range maps on over 1,000 birds of North America, including sub-species, vagrants, introduced birds and possibilities


Species: The Common Chiffchaff (Dendroica castanea) is a member of the leaf warbler family seen throughout Eurasia. It is quite similar to the Willow Warbler and it is very difficult to distinguish one from the other. One of the methods used to differentiate these two warblers is to compare the lengths of the second and sixth primary feathers. Unfortunately, the bird must be in hand for this. In the case of the Common Chiffchaff, the sixth primary feather is longer. It prefers wooded areas for its habitat and can be found in open areas during the migration periods.

Distinctions: The male and female are similar in appearance. Off-white to light brown supercilium, brown cheeks, crown, nape, back and tail. Slightly darker brown wings, with no wingbars. Light brown flanks and whitish-brown breast. It may have a hint of green in its plumage. It has dark black legs which is one indication of its species, but not always reliable. It has a very distinguishable song that will help in identifying it. Unfortunately, the leaf warbler family have many similarities among them. Similar warblers are Willow Warbler, Arctic Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler and the Bonnelli's Warbler, to name few.

Voice: Chipping call, songs may sound like "chiff, chiff, chaff, chaff, chiff", repeated over.

Nesting: Three to five off-white coloured eggs with dark speckling. Builds its nest low to ground, usually in a conifer or a bush. The nest is composed of leaves, twigs, moss and is lined with fine grasses and hair.

Birds of North America
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Life, Habitat and Pictures of North American Warblers

B L W W W Family Latin Name
4.75" 12cm 8.25" 21cm 0.35oz. 10g Phylloscopidae Phylloscopus collybita

  • Summer
  • Year Around
  • Winter
range map

Distribution: Found throughout Eurasia, migrates into Africa during winter months. It has been a vagrant seen in North America.

References to Other Bird Sites:

Avibase - the world bird database This site provides the user with a complete list of bird species, broken down per country, or in the example of the US or Canada, per state and province. Here, bird species names are available in other languages, a great asset to be used as a translation of foreign bird names.

ABA - American Birding Association This site represents an organization that maintains official records of all birds species that have been proven to have been seen inside the perimeters of the North American Continent and the surrounding bodies of water. Regular revised versions are posted to keep the bird list current at all times. This is the list used by all serious birders over their lifetime. You may be aware of the movie called the "Big Year". It was with this list that all the competing birders used in an attempt to set a new record as to how many bird species that could be seen by an individual birder in one calendar year.

I hope you will take advantage of these suggested websites. I have used each of them, in one way or another, throughout the years in my quest to better identify and understand our fine feathered friends.

Classic Collection of North American Birds