Wintering Chiffchaffs

Chiffchaff, Rutland

Chiffchaff, Rutland

This winter at least four Chiffchaffs are wintering at Geeston STW, where a Siberian Chiffchaff (tristis) was present last winter (see ).

Three of them look like typical collybita (below), but one is different and either confusing or interesting depending on your point of view (left). Its upperparts are noticeably more grey/brown, the yellowish tones in the supercilium are much more subtle, and the underparts are whiter with pale yellow undertail-coverts.

Its appearance does not correspond with our understanding of tristis, yet it is sufficiently different from typical collybita to command attention. I have seen a few birds like this previously, but remain unsure what they are. They might be intergrades, or they might be Scandinavian Chiffchaffs (abietinus), the status of which needs re-evaluation.

Any informed comments will be welcome.

Chiffchaff, Rutland

Chiffchaff, Rutland 


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