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Wood Warbler

Phylloscopus sibilatrix

Ceolaire coille

Status
: Rare summer visitor to decidous woodlands in County Wicklow from mid May to August. Rare passage migrant in spring and autumn.

Conservation Concern: Amber-listed in Ireland due to its small and localised breeding population. The European population has been evaluated as Declining, due to a moderate recent decline.

Identification: About the same size as Willow Warbler and very similar to that species in appearance. Ages and sexes similar. The head, back rump and tail are pale green, with a large yellow supercilium extending to the nape. Also has a dark eyestripe. The throat and face are pale yellow, contrasting to the otherwise pure white breast and belly. The legs are dark brown.

Similar Species: Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler.

Call: Most frequently heard is a "tsip". Has two types of the song. The first is an extended series of tsip notes ending in a trill - the sound has been likened to a coin spinning on marble. The other song type is of several slowly repeated "pew" notes, usually descending in scale.

Diet: Feeds mainly on insects and other invertebrates.

Breeding: A few pairs breed in oak forest in County Wicklow. Singing spring birds are almost exclusively seen in old growth, insect-rich woodland. In Continental Europe, also breesd in extensive Scots Pine forests with rich undergrowth, though this habitat does not seem to be used in ireland. Usually nests in holes in the ground.

Wintering: Wood Warblers winter in tropical Africa.

Where to See: Very difficult to see in Ireland. The woodland in Glendalough regularly holds one or two singing Wood Warblers in late spring. A rare passage migrant to coastal headlands, such as at Cape Clear in County Cork or Great Saltee Island in County Wexford.

Monitored by: Countryside Bird Survey.

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