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Conservation status: Green

A very plain warbler with no distinguishing features (a feature in itself!). It spends a lot of its time in the cover of trees and bushes and can be more difficult to see than its relative, the blackcap. Despite its name it is not really a garden bird, except in mature gardens next to woods. Its song is similar to that of a blackcap, but has longer mellow phrases.



Latin name

Sylvia borin


Warblers and allies (Sylviidae)

Where to see them

Deciduous and mixed woodland and woodland edges, with glades, rides and other open areas. Especially likes coppiced woodland. Sometimes in farmland hedgerows. It is commonest in England, Wales and S Scotland.

When to see them

It starts to arrive in late April and May and leaves in mid-July. Migrants can be seen through August and September when Continental birds can be seen along the east and south coasts.

What they eat

Insects and berries


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-170,000 territories--



In the UK
Most of the UK, scarce in N Scotland and N Ireland


Mathias Ritschard, Xeno-canto

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