Animals

Leaf Warblers

by Marcia Malory

Leaf warblers are small greenish or brownish-colored birds that eat insects in tree canopies.

They are members of the genus Phylloscopus.

Leaf warblers are agile and swift. While hopping forwards and backwards, they pick up tiny insects and caterpillars from twigs and leaves, sometimes darting out to catch them in flight.

A leaf warbler has yellow underparts and a white stripe above each eye.

Chiffchaff Leaf Warbler, photo by J M GargChiffchaff

The chiffchaff is olive brown on top and yellowish-buff underneath. Its legs are usually black. Its eye stripe is not very distinct.

Its name comes from its song - two squeaky notes that sound like "chiff" and "chaff."

The chiffchaff is a migratory bird.

It breeds in the more northern parts of Europe and Asia, and winters in the southern parts of those continents and in North Africa.

The chiff chaff feeds in tall trees and uses these trees as song posts. It makes its nests in bushy undergrowth.

Willow Warbler Leaf Warbler, photo by AvicedaWillow Warbler

The willow warbler's upper parts are greener than the chiffchaff's, and its underparts have more yellow. Its eye stripe is stronger than the eye stripe of the chiffchaff. Its legs are usually pale.

It is also a migratory bird. Like the chiffchaff, it breeds in the temperate and northern parts of Asia and Europe. The willow warbler lives in Africa, below the Sahara, from around September to April.

The willow warbler will live in any wooded or bushy area where the canopy is not very dense.

Wood Warbler Leaf Warbler, photo by OskilaWood Warbler

The wood warbler is yellowish-green on top. Its throat and breast are yellow. It has a white belly. Its eye stripe is yellow and distinct. Its legs are pale.

It lives in mature oak, beech, birch and chestnut forests that have little or no undergrowth.

The wood warbler breeds in northern and temperate Europe and Asia. It winters in tropical Africa.