Thursday, 3 March 2011

Iberian Chiffchaff

Last Friday (25th Feb) we were ringing at Paul da Madriz with Paulo Tenreiro and Paulo Ferreira, catching the first Iberian Chiffchaff of the year. Fortunately, we also caught Chiffchaff during the morning which allowed me to take a few pictures to show the differences between the two.
Iberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus ibericus) - note the yellowishness and bold, extended supercilium

Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) - shorter, more diffuse supercilium

According to Paulo, it is common to find that ibericus returning from Africa often have moulted the outermost primaries, whereas collybita don't complete any primary moult until after their post-breeding moult.

ItalicIberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus ibericus) - P7, P8 & P9 have been moulted

Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) - all primaries are of the same generation with uniform wear

In recent years, we have learnt a lot about the Iberian Chiffchaff and I am sure that we will continue to learn more in the coming years. I have been fortunate to spend a lot of time ringing in Portugal and I probably ring similar numbers of both Iberian Chiffchaff and Chiffchaff annually, but it these experiences that provide the opportunities to gain a real insight into the moult patterns and behaviour of these birds.


  1. Congratulations Peter on another successful and interesting ringing trip

  2. Good night peter,
    Sorry contact you by this way, but i have no other to. I met you in July at Veiga de São Simão (VSS) and i would like to ask you some questions, if you don't mind to answer it:
    1 - From your contact with VSS, what is in your opinion the potential of that space?
    2 - Do you think that VSS deserved to have a park or a reserve for nature conservation?
    3 - The VSS could be framed in the Ramsar Convention?

    thanks for your atention. Please mail me your answers to