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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 10, 2021

21 Amaze-wing Facts About The Common Chiffchaff For Kids

Common chiffchaff facts are about extraordinary warblers.

Famous for its chiff-chaff song, the common chiffchaff of the Phylloscopidae family is a migratory warbler that bears a close resemblance to the wood warbler as well as the willow warbler. The songs of the species are identical to that of the wood warbler while these birds are almost indistinguishable from the willow warblers in appearance. The species has been further subdivided into three subspecies namely P. c. abietinus, P. c. collybita, and P. c. tristis (Siberian chiffchaff). Previously, the Iberian chiffchaff (P. ibericus), Canary Islands chiffchaff (P. canariensis), and mountain chiffchaff (P. sindianus) were considered to be subspecies of the common chiffchaff but they've been rendered distinct identities as separate warbler species.

The onomatopoeic name of the species has been derived from its chiff-chaff song while the scientific name 'Phylloscopus collybita' has Greek roots. In the Greek language, the terms 'phyllon' and 'skopeo' translate to 'leaf' and 'to look at' when the term 'kollubistes' implies 'money changer'. The common chiffchaffs invest most of their time among tree leaves, searching for and feeding on insects. Also, the sound of their song coincides with the clinking sound of coins.

For some more intriguing facts about the common chiffchaff keep reading. You can also explore some more fascinating facts about the Iberian chiffchaff and great bowerbird.

Common Chiffchaff Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a common chiffchaff?

The common chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) is a species of bird renowned for its chiff-chaff song.

What class of animal does a common chiffchaff belong to?

This leaf-warbler species of the Phylloscopus genus belongs to the class Aves.

How many common chiffchaffs are there in the world?

Adults in the range of 10,000,000-500,000,000 have been quantified which implies that these warblers are pretty common within their habitat range. Large populations of the species accompanied by an increasing population trend have offered them a secure status in the current scenario.

Where does a common chiffchaff live?

During the breeding period, the distribution of the common chiffchaffs ranges throughout Europe, East Asia, Siberian provinces with some population scattered in western and northern Turkey, northwestern Iran, and northwest Africa. The European passerine is migratory and hence, by the end of April, they fly off to places near the Mediterranean Sea. They winter in warmer places like Arabia, Somalia, Africa, Syria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Canary Islands, Senegambia, Mauritania, Nigeria, and Chad. The breeding grounds for the subspecies, Siberian chiffchaff, is to the east of River Pechora in Siberia while the bird migrates to the lower Himalayas during winter.

What is a common chiffchaff's habitat?

The habitat range of the bird species includes deciduous forests, marshes, woodlands, freshwater springs, oases, and rural gardens. A large population can be located in the willow thickets and willow scrubs outside the breeding season.

Who do common chiffchaffs live with?

These birds are sociable. They can be found in pairs. Post-breeding, the species usually joins other warblers and migrates in small flocks.

How long does a common chiffchaff live?

Generally, the chiffchaffs have a life expectancy of two to eight years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season commences from April extending till early August. These birds are primarily monogamous but males have been spotted defending two territories at a time indicating polygamy. The male performs courtship rituals by pursuing and chasing the females, singing a melodious song to appease the female. In the courtship flight, the males spread out their wings projecting a floating appearance. Both partners engage in bill clicking followed by eventual copulation. The nest is built out of leaves, dry grasses, plant fibers, feathers, and moss. The female bird incubates the eggs. A clutch comprises two to seven pale white eggs. Two broods are raised annually. The young ones are fed mostly by the females while the males sometimes assist them.

What is their conservation status?

As per the observations of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the common chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) has been listed under the Least Concern category owing to its widespread population distribution throughout its geographical range.

Common Chiffchaff Fun Facts

What do common chiffchaffs look like?

The plumage of the bird species is olive green colored with a dull brown shade. The tail and flight feathers are brown with olive green edges. The underparts are cream or whitish-yellow. The bird possesses dark legs, dark brown iris, and a pointed brownish bill. The upperparts of a juvenile are gray-brown while the underparts are yellow-white along with a buff-colored breast and throat. The willow warbler has a comparatively slender body and the legs are lighter brown. Also, the yellow stripes above the eye are more prominent.

Common chiffchaff facts are about the small leaf warbler.

How cute are they?

Common chiffchaffs are small singing birds that exhibit a plump appearance. These beautiful wild birds are nothing less than adorable!

How do they communicate?

These birds produce a soft call that sounds more like a 'hooeet' or 'hweet'. Also, contact calls such as 'dik' and 'drit' have been identified between the male and female birds during the breeding period while the females make a soft 'ett' sound while feeding the chicks. The rhythmic 'chiff-chaff chiff-chaff' song is the most distinctive identification feature of these little birds.

How big is a common chiffchaff?

The average length of the common chiffchaff is about 3.9-4.7 in (10-12 cm). These birds are even smaller than the palm warblers measuring around 7.9-8.3 in (20-21 cm) in length.

How fast can a common chiffchaff fly?

The chiffchaff is known to be extremely thrifty in flight, especially when pursuing flies. They can even feed in the middle of their flight! Although the accurate speed limit of these birds remains a mystery, the upper elevation limit has been recorded at 10,827 ft (3,300 m).

How much does a common chiffchaff weigh?

These minuscule birds are extremely lightweight weighing only 0.25-0.31 oz (6-8 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Just like any other bird species, the male and female common chiffchaffs are called a cock and hen respectively.

What would you call a baby common chiffchaff?

Chick, hatchling, or nestling are common names attributed to any baby bird.

What do they eat?

The common chiffchaff indulges in an insectivorous diet comprising small to medium-sized invertebrates. Insects, their larvae, and eggs form an essential part of their diet. A wide variety of flies, moths, bugs, damselflies, butterflies, grasshoppers, bees, beetles, spiders, and mites are gobbled. However, these birds seldom consume seeds and fruits. The heavy intake of insects in the autumn season makes up for most of the body fat that aids the lengthy flights during migration.

Are they dangerous?

The male birds display a highly territorial nature during the breeding season where they portray aggressiveness towards other male competitors intruding on their territory. They're otherwise quite sociable as they often flock together with other warblers.

Would they make a good pet?

These singing birds of the wilderness are uncommon as pets. These birds can be identified from among trees through their songs. Moreover, according to the wildlife preservation laws enforced by several countries, rearing wild birds in captivity involves hefty penalties and punishment.

Did you know...

The summer bird constantly feeds on insects in autumn to put on excessive weight so that the stored body fat can be utilized later during migration. A daily insect diet makes up for one-third of the total body weight!

Do you know that Phylloscopus rufus was the old synonym popularly used to denote the chiffchaffs?

What bird makes a chiffchaff sound?

The common chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) makes the 'chiff-chaff chiff-chaff' onomatopoeic sound. The song of the similar-looking summer bird, the willow warbler, is constituted of repetitive descending musical notes. While the chiffchaff's song can be heard in the months of autumn, the song of the willow warbler is audible from the start of April.

Where do chiffchaffs nest? 

Nests are constructed by the females. Nesting materials include leaves, dry grasses, plant fibers, feathers, and moss. The nest is generally built on or near the ground concealed by thick vegetation of bramble bush, nettles, and others. In the presence of ground predators, the nests are located at a slightly higher elevation where they can be safe. These birds are not endemic to any country.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our Indian blackbird facts and golden-fronted leafbird facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable winter birds coloring pages.

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