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explain fitis vs. chiffchaff by images

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Old Wednesday 21st April 2004, 12:15   #1
jonafly
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explain fitis vs. chiffchaff by images

Hi there,

i'm sure this question has been asked before, butI'm gonna pose it anyway.

As you might know by now I love birds, but it's all still a bit superficial. Can anyone explain to me in simple words (preferably with images) how to determine fitis and chiffchaff. I read some explanations on the net with poor images etc. and couldn't grasp it fully.
Or maybe a location on the net where I can find such an explanation.

I thank you for bearing with me.

André Jas
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Old Wednesday 21st April 2004, 12:26   #2
Andrew Whitehouse
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Hi Andre,

I'm not sure what you mean by 'fitis'. Do you know the full English or latin name for the bird you are interested in?
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Old Wednesday 21st April 2004, 12:37   #3
Elizabeth Bigg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fifebirder
Hi Andre,

I'm not sure what you mean by 'fitis'. Do you know the full English or latin name for the bird you are interested in?
I'm not sure either, but a quick Google search indicates it might be a willow warbler! I've heard that the only foolproof way of telling a willow warbler from a chiff chaff is by hearing their songs/calls - though I'm sure there are plenty of clever people here who can do better than that!!!
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Old Wednesday 21st April 2004, 13:12   #4
Joern Lehmhus
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Hi all, yep-Fitis is indeed Willow warbler- no time for a longer answer, bein at work sorry
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Old Wednesday 21st April 2004, 14:37   #5
jonafly
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Sorry guys,

This is what I meant:
"Tjiftjaf, Phylloscopus collybita, Chiffchaff" versus "Fitis, Phylloscopus trochilus, Willow Warbler".

I read this article:
http://www.noorderkempen.be/vogels/s...tis_tjif01.htm
It's in Dutch but it tries to explain something like this:

"The best characteristic to tell Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff apart is the length of hand pen projection. With the Willow Warbler these are approximately just as long as as the length of the tertials. With the Chiffchaff this is approximately half the length of the tertials."

I'd like this part (illustratively) explained so that a dummy like me can also understand it.

Thanks,

André
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Old Wednesday 21st April 2004, 15:02   #6
Darren Oakley-Martin
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I usually go on the clearer eyestripe and paler legs. I think they are also longer-winged, and billed? A more elegant bird than a Chiffchaff IMHO. I'm sure there are many other differences. Jane? Michael? Where are yoooooooooooooou!
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Old Wednesday 21st April 2004, 15:30   #7
M Cowming
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Always a conundrum this one and there are always the birds that confuse even the most experienced birders but in general;

1) Chiffchaff has a diagnostic "chiff" "chaff" call which is unmistakable whereas the Willow has a more melodic downward spiralling song with a little kick at the end. When you've listened to both, there really will be little confusion again as both birds tend to call ceaselessly during spring and beyond.

2) If you aren't privileged enough to hear a song from a particular "Chiff-Willow", the main points to look out for are; a) Leg colour: In general, Willow warblers tend to have lighter coloured legs and feet. Chiffchaffs tend to usually have darker legs and feet, almost blackish. Beware as leg colour can also be variable for both species!
b) Primary projection( i.e. distance from the tip of the wing to the tertials) is generally noticeably longer on a Willow Warbler when viewed favourably.
c) Finally, colouration; Willow Warblers tend to be very "green" where green occurs and very "white" underneath.They are brightly coloured and give a more warm appearance in general. The supercilium over the eye is also generally stronger and more noticeable than that of the Chiffchaff. Chiffchaffs do tend to be more drab but as earlier mentioned, the call is the clincher. Familiarise yourself with those and you can't go wrong.

Hopefully this will be of some help!! :)
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Old Wednesday 21st April 2004, 15:52   #8
Andrew Whitehouse
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In addition to M Cowming's excellent points, here's something I said on another thread recently:

One good thing to look out for with Chiffchaffs is that they tend to dip their tail downwards quite vigorously at regular intervals. If you find one singing, follow it as it moves about and you'll probably see them do this. Follow a Willow Warbler in the same way and they don't seem to give anything like such an obvious dip, although they do sometimes flick their tail a little.

I'd also add that in addition to the distinctive and nearly always diagnostic songs, the calls are also different. Willow Warbler gives a distinctly disyllabic 'Hoo-eet' call, very like a Redstart. Chiffchaff usually gives a more monosyllabic 'Hweet' call, although note that some races of Chiffchaff give very different calls (e.g. Scandinavian bird). The difference between the calls is not always easy to recognise but it can be useful, particularly in autumn when birds aren't singing.

Note that juveniles of the two species are more different looking than adults. Young Chiffchaffs tend to be even duller than adults and are rather greyish and non-descript. Young Willow Warblers are very bright and yellow underneath, prompting confusion with Wood Warbler. So, even though they're not normally singing in autumn, the two species can still be fairly easy to separate then because a lot of birds are juveniles and these usually look quite different.
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Old Thursday 22nd April 2004, 08:02   #9
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This is the part that I'd like to see visualised (e.g. lines drawn on photographs or drawings:
b) Primary projection( i.e. distance from the tip of the wing to the tertials) is generally noticeably longer on a Willow Warbler when viewed favourably.
Can anyone provide that (haven't got a huge library near me, sorry)

André
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Old Thursday 22nd April 2004, 08:14   #10
Andrew Whitehouse
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Hi Andre,

I hope this helps. It's a Chiffchaff on the left and a Willow Warbler on the right.
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Old Thursday 22nd April 2004, 09:09   #11
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Great! Fifebirder.

That's what I mean. Now a simple graphical designer like myself (I speak with images) can also understand.

Thanks!

André Jas
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Old Friday 23rd April 2004, 13:41   #12
Adey Baker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fifebirder
In addition to M Cowming's excellent points, here's something I said on another thread recently:

One good thing to look out for with Chiffchaffs is that they tend to dip their tail downwards quite vigorously at regular intervals. If you find one singing, follow it as it moves about and you'll probably see them do this.
I watched about half a dozen Chiffchaffs this morning and everyone was a 'Tail-dipper.'
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Old Friday 23rd April 2004, 14:17   #13
Jane Turner
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I believe that the Indian name for Chiffchaff translates as "tail dipper". Wilows will dip their tails, but Chiffs never stop.

Oh and another thing which has probably been mentioned before is the Chiffs always show a relatively prominent eye-ring compared to WW - see FifeBirders pic!
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Old Friday 23rd April 2004, 14:29   #14
Adey Baker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane Turner

Oh and another thing which has probably been mentioned before is the Chiffs always show a relatively prominent eye-ring compared to WW - see FifeBirders pic!
And in these two:
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Old Friday 23rd April 2004, 14:40   #15
Jane Turner
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Right jonafly - try this. Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff are probably the classic "jizz" bird. They have loads of overlapping criteria and if you rely on just one feature - esp leg colour, you will get caught out. The strange thing is once you get to know them, its easier to identify one than explain why!

In addition to the wing structure and call (and song )differences, which are more or less fool proof, there is something subtlely but consistently different in the face shape and markings which gives the two species very different looks. Take a look at the pictre below - three WW on the left, three Chiffs on the right.

StructureWillow Warbler often appears to have a slightly smaller eye in relation the the size of the bird and a slightly flatter crown, though both these fetures are affected by viewing angle etc.

Plumage Willow warbler usually has a longer supercilium...... but the best feature is to look at the ear coverts. On Willow warbler there is usually a dark and fine eyestripe and though the highest ear coverts are often quite dark, the lower ones are usually quite pale.., sometimes with quite a demarcation. On Chiffchaff the earcoverts are more uniformly dark, and that dark region is deep enough to surround the eye, making the lower part of the eyering stand out more....sometimes as prominently as the supercilium.

Hope that helps!
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Old Friday 23rd April 2004, 14:51   #16
Jane Turner
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And take a look at this > Chiffchaff.... an absolutely classic head pattern!
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Old Tuesday 11th May 2004, 12:49   #17
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Very enlightening, Jane.

Thanks,

André

P.S. Been away for a while.
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