Dartford Warbler

Dartford Warbler

Key facts

Scientific name: Sylvia undata

Status: Resident breeding species

Breeding birds: 370-5003,200 pairs

Conservation status: Amber

Length: 12 – 13 cm

Wingspan: 13 – 18 cm

Weight: 9 – 12 g

Description

Dartford warblers are small birds with short wings and long tails. Male Dartford warblers have dark grey-brown upper parts with brown wings. The tail is dark brown edged with grey and white and their heads are grey. Underparts are rust coloured, bellies are white and they have white spots on the chin and throat.

Dartford warblers have thin black bills with a pinky yellow base. Their eyes are dark orange with red eye-rings and their legs and feet are bright orange.

Female Dartford warblers are similar but with duller, browner plumage and their underparts are pink coloured with less visible white spots.

Juvenile Dartford warblers look like adult females with paler underparts and white belly.

Nesting

Male Dartford warblers build several nests which are close to the ground and fairly flimsy structures made from dried grasses, moss, wool and spider webs. The interior is lined with softer materials such as wool, grass and feathers.

Dartford warblers lay 3 or 4 pale green or white eggs with darker spots. The eggs are incubated by the female for 12-13 days and chicks leave the nest 12-13 days after hatching.

Feeding

Dartford warblers eat mainly insects but in the winter will also feed on spiders seeds and berries.

Dartford Warbler

Where to see them

Dartford warblers can be spotted all year round in south west and south east England. They can be found in dry habitats such as lowland heathland among gorse and heather

Listen

Jordi Calvet/xeno-canto

Did you know?

Dartford warblers were first described in Bexleyheath, near Dartford, Kent in 1773, but have not been seen in this area since the early 20th century.

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