Iffy Chiffy

A Mixed Singer

These spice up someone’s spring each year and threaten to go down as Iberian or Siberian Chiffchaffs. This one found on 7th April by Jim Clarke near my morning school drop-off, was intriguing. On first hearing it, it had something of the ‘Coal Tit’-like quality of Siberian Chiffchaff song. Having spent a bit a time with it, however it was not right. It regular gave full normal  Chiffchaff song and several times gave Chiffchaff ‘swee’ call. It also gave the very different pseudo- Siberian song often ending in little Willow Warbler-like flourish. So the assumption is that it is a Chiffchaff which has learnt/ incomporated some aspects of Willow Warbler song and the resulting ‘mixed song’ sounds, in part, a bit like a Siberian Chiffchaff.


Have a listen <HERE>

Here’s the bird. Funny how hard it can be to ascertain the colours on Chiffchaffs sometimes. This bird also genuinely looked rather brown and buff and even seemed to have a ‘mock’ pale wing bar at times, but I just think it was poor views and lighting high up in the canopy that made it hard to ‘read’ the plumage.


About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
This entry was posted in Warblers. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Iffy Chiffy

  1. Leon Corrall says:

    On Wednesday (4th May) my wife and I heard a strange Chiffchaff at Yarner NNR, the regular two note song plus additional flourishes. Not being familiar with the song of either Iberian or Siberian Chiffchaff I searched the net and came across your excellent site. Like your “iffy chiffy” I suspect our bird was combining its natural song with learnt Willow Warbler notes. Is it common for warblers, not famous for mimicry, to adopt bits of other birds’ song? I have heard a Willow Warbler add the Chiffchaff’s two notes to the end of its usual song.

    • Martin Garner says:

      Hi Leon

      thanks for getting in touch, The more I learn about bird vocalisation, the more frequently I discover thier abilty to learn or mimic other species. Ther is a lively and helpful discussion on Surfbird forums- (advanced ID) which is worth reading- several postings. You may have to join to read them


      Cheers Martin

  2. Pingback: Heraclitean Fire » Code-switching warblers and birch sap bingers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s