Dartford warbler

Species profile

Name: the Dartford warbler (Sylvia undata) is a small bird found in the warmer areas of western Europe and northwestern Africa.

Appearance: Dartford warblers have long thin tails and narrow pointed beaks. The males are grey-brown on top and red-brown below with distinctive red eyes, while the females are paler.

Size: they are small birds measuring around 12 cm in length and weighing around 10 grams.

Diet: they feed on insects, with their favourite prey being caterpillars, butterflies, beetles, and spiders.

Did you know: Dartford warblers need warm weather to survive. In the UK they nearly died out after a particularly severe winter in 1962 – with the population dropping to just 10 pairs. Thanks to conservation efforts their numbers have risen. As the climate is predicted to get warmer, especially in the winter, the population is predicted to expand in the UK. However, they are also sensitive to drought, and climate change is having negative impacts elsewhere across their range. Predictions in Europe suggest that more than 60% of their current range across Europe may no longer be suitable by 2080. 

Location: they can be found in open fields and healthlands. Most of the population lives in the Iberian peninsula, with other important spots including France, Italy, and southern England and Wales. There are also small populations in northern Morocco and Algeria.

Where to see Dartford warblers

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see Dartford warblers in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
New Forest
very high
very good

Photo credit: James West under a Creative Commons licence from Flickr 

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