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 https://rutlandbutterflies.wordpress.com/tag/siberian-chiffchaff/ ).

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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