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Dartford Warbler

From Opus

Photo © by Andy BrightSuffolk, U.K., October 2005
Photo © by Andy Bright
Suffolk, U.K., October 2005
Sylvia undata


[edit] Identification

12·5 cm (5 in)

  • Rufous below
  • Grey back
  • Grey head
  • Red throat with white spots
  • Red iris
  • Long tail


  • Paler underparts
  • More of a brown grey below

[edit] Distribution

FemalePhoto © by  scottishdude Minsmere, May, 2009
Photo © by scottishdude
Minsmere, May, 2009

Breeds in southern England, the Channel Islands and southernmost Wales, in western France and on the Mediterranean coast and throughout Iberia. Also breeds on Menorca, on Corsica and Sardinia, southern Italy and north-east Sicily and in coastal North Africa in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.

Britain lies on the northern edge of this species' range and it occurs mainly in southern England with the bulk of the population found from Devon to Sussex and Surrey with small numbers in Cornwall and on the Isle of Wight. With global warming, the species has increased and spread north in recent decades, and now breeds in coastal heaths in south Wales, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk; extralimital breeding has also occurred in north Wales and Staffordshire.[2]

Vagrants have been recorded in Ireland, Scotland, Belgium and the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden, and east to Greece and the former Yugoslavia, and also in Libya.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

JuvenilePhoto © by the late MahslebDunwich Heath, Saxmundham, Suffolk, July 2010
Photo © by the late Mahsleb
Dunwich Heath, Saxmundham, Suffolk, July 2010

There are 3 subspecies[1]

  • S. u. dartfordiensis: has a dark brown mantle
  • S. u. undata: has a slate-grey mantle
  • S. u. toni: the palest race, is greyish-brown above and paler and duller below

[edit] Habitat

In north of range found on open heathland with abundant gorse (Ulex sp.) and heather (Calluna vulgaris) to provide cover, further south in dense thorny scrub and maquis, sometimes in open pinewoods. In Spain it is mainly present in areas with low scrub (no taller than 1 metre) without trees (or with only few). Slopes with Gum Cistus (Cistus ladanifer) are a favourite.

[edit] Behaviour

Photo © by manorjimDunwich Heath, Suffolk, June 2014
Photo © by manorjim
Dunwich Heath, Suffolk, June 2014

[edit] Diet

The diet consists mostly of insects and spiders, with the addition of berries outside of the breeding season.

[edit] Breeding

It nests in low vegetation. The clutch consists of 3-6 eggs.

[edit] Movements

Mainly resident, but some birds, mainly juveniles, wander in winter and range expands in the south of range, especially on Balearics, Malta, Sicily, and in North Africa.

[edit] Vocalisation

Song: a scratchy rattling warble. Call has been described as a sort of lowish buzz "ddzzz".

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Bird Atlas 2007-11. BTO.
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved February 2016)
  4. Wikipedia

[edit] External Links


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