Common chiffchaff

    Common chiffchaff

    Phylloscopus collybita

Castilian: Mosquitero común

Catalan: Mosquiter comú

Gallego: Picafollas común

Euskera: Txio arrunta


Orden: Passeriformes

Family: Sylviidae

Migratory status: Permanent resident


On the National List of Threatened Species, it appears in the “Of Special Interest” category. In the 2004 edition of the Red Book of Spanish Birds (Libro Rojo de las Aves de España) it is listed as “Not Evaluated”.


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

listen song


It is not considered a threatened species, but it can be affected by the destruction of riparian forests (one of its preferred habitats) caused by the cutting down of poplar groves and canalisations.

Length / size: 10-11 cm / 15-21 cm

Identification: Small warbler with a thin bill and dark legs. Its back is greenish or greyish-brown and contrasts with its whitish underparts.

Song: Its song is very characteristic, consisting in the frequent alternation of two sounds, "cheef-chaf". Its call is a weak "weet".

Diet: It feeds on small invertebrates, complementing its diet with fruits in autumn and winter, and with nectar and pollen from flowers during spring.

Reproduction: Breeding begins in March. The nest is primarily built by the female, and is built in vegetaion, always at a low height; it is a closed structure with a small side entre, made of leaves and moss. The female incubates the eggs and the chicks are mostly cared for by her.


Species dependent on forest environments, with a preference for riverside or deciduous forests during breeding season. In winter it can appear in more open areas, such as reed beds, Mediterranean scrubland, and even in parks.


In Spain: When breeding, it is distributed throughout the Pyrenees Mountains, Catalonia, river groves of the northern Plateau, the Valencian Community, and, on a more scattered basis, in some areas of the northern peninsula. When wintering, it can be found widely distributed throughout the entire Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands.

In Castile and León: It is distributed throughout the entire community.

Movements and migrations: The Iberian populations are sedentary; they only make small migrations. However, the central and northern European populations are partially migratory and spend the winter in the Mediterranean region. The prenuptial passage takes place in February/March and the postnuptial in September/December.


In Spain: Precise data are not available due to the difficulty in distinguishing this bird from the Iberian chiffchaff, among other problems. Nevertheless, there is an estimated population of 40000-60000 breeding pairs.

In Castile and León: