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.

3 thoughts on “Iffy Chiffy

  1. Leon Corrall

    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.

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