British wildlife recordings
Phylloscopus trochilus : Willow Warbler - Sylviidae
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Cowley, Gloucestershire: OS Grid Reference(396500,214500)
Williams, Aubrey John
Willow Warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus
Song of the willow warbler recorded at Cowley, Gloucestershire. The willow warbler is one of Britain's most numerous summer visitors. The distinct song, often heard in the warbler's usual habitat of open woodland and scrub, is a graceful cascade of soft, liquid, warbling notes. Both sexes are similar in appearance, exhibiting olive-green upperparts and pale yellow underparts. Young birds differ in possessing stronger yellow plumage. This warbler performs long migrations. In early autumn it begins its annual journey from Britain to central and southern Africa, travelling up to 2,500 miles. The diet consists of insects, spiders and the occasional small worm. Despite its name this small bird does not have a preference to feed and nest in willow trees. Indeed the dome-shaped nest is more likely to be found hidden in undergrowth on the ground. The hen is responsible for the incubation of six white, brown-speckled eggs. Both parents feed the young. The breeding population currently stands at approximately 2.3 million pairs and numbers are gradually declining. This species can be found throughout the whole of the British Isles from April to September.