Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)


Willow Warblers are slim, delicate birds of woodland, scrub, parks and gardens. They can be heard singing a melodious, warbling song from amongst the tree canopy. Willow Warblers are migratory birds, breeding in Europe and migrating to southern Africa for the winter. They are unusual amongst birds in that they moult all their feathers twice a year - once at their breeding grounds and once at their wintering ground. The reason for this is unclear. Like other warblers, they are insectivorous but will eat berries and fruit in autumn.

How to identify

Willow Warblers are green above and pale yellow below, with an off-white belly and eyebrow stripe. Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs are both very similar, olive-coloured warblers, so are best identified by their song: Chiffchaffs sing 'chiff chaff chiff chaff'. Willow Warblers have pale legs, while Chiffchaff legs are dark grey.


Length: 11-13cm Wingspan: 19cm Weight: 10g Average Lifespan: 2 years

When to see them

April - September

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.


A widespread summer visitor.

Where to see them

Addiewell Bing, Auchalton Meadow, Ayr Gorge Woodlands, Balgavies Loch, Ballagan Glen, Bawsinch and Duddingston, Belmaduthy Dam, Bemersyde Moss, Bogburn Flood Lagoons, Brock Wood, Carron Glen, Carstramon Wood, Cathkin Marsh, Corsehillmuir Wood, East Lammermuir Deans, Fountainbleau Ladypark, Gailes Marsh, Garnock Floods, Garrion Gill, Glen Moss, Gordon Moss, Grey Hill Grasslands, Hadfast Valley, Hare and Dunhog Mosses, Hoselaw Loch and Din Moss, Isle of Eigg, Knowetop Lochs, Largiebaan, Linhouse Glen, Loch Ardinning, Loch Fleet, Loch of the Lowes, Longridge Moss, Lower Nethan Gorge, Milkhall Pond, Oldhall Ponds, Rahoy Hills, Red Moss of Balerno, Roslin Glen, Seaton Cliffs, Shewalton Sandpits, Shewalton Wood, Southwick Coast, Stenhouse Wood, Tailend Moss, The Miley, Tummel Shingle Islands, Upper Nethan Gorge, Whitlaw Wood

Did you know?

The Willow Warbler is the most common summer visitor to this country, with more than two million breeding pairs setting up nests for the season.


The Scottish Wildlife Trust is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland (registered number SC040247), having its registered office at

Harbourside House, 110 Commercial St, Edinburgh EH6 6NF. It is also a Scottish registered charity (charity number SC005792). Privacy policy & Cookie policy.