Warbler Facts



  • The willow warbler is only 11 cm long, but flies all the way from northern Europe and Siberia to Africa to spend the winter – a distance of some 12,000 km.
  • The rarely seen grasshopper warbler has an extraordinary whirring song and can ‘throw its voice’ like a ventriloquist.
  • The warbler family has more than 380 species. Most live in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia, but there are a few species in North and South America.
  • Most warblers are 9-16 cm long, but the two largest – the South African grassbird and the Australian songlarks – are up to 23 cm long.
  • The Aldabra warbler, which was discovered in 1967, lives only on a small part of Aldabra Island in the Indian Ocean. It has not been seen since 1983, so may well be extinct.
  • Insects are the main food of most warblers, but they also eat some fruits, berries and seeds.
  • The marsh warbler can mimic about 80 other species.
  • Chiffchaffs and willow warblers look almost exactly alike, but their songs are quite different.
  • The blackcap lays 4-6 eggs in a neat, cup-shaped nest. Both parents incubate them for 10-15 days.
  • The tailorbird makes a cradle like nest from two leaves which it sews together with plant fibers or spiders’ webs.
  • At 19 cm long, the great reed warbler is larger than most other European warblers.