High Weald

chiffchaffThe Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) migrates to the UK from the Mediterranean and West Africa. One of the earliest migrants to return, sometimes in February/early March and one of the latest to depart in September, there is now a small population who stay and overwinter in southern England.

One of the first migrants to sing in the spring, it has an unforgettable song – which sounds like it is pronouncing itself 'chiffchaff, chiffchaff'.

It is a restless bird - look out for it feeding on insects in shrubs and trees, or singing from an exposed branch and can be seen almost anywhere in the High Weald from gardens to parks and woodlands.

Its Latin name is a reference to its song, Collybita is a corruption of the Greek Kollubistes, meaning 'money changer' because the repeated notes were thought to resemble the jingle of coins. Several old vernacular versions also contain an echo, such as 'chip chop', 'choice and cheep' and 'pettychap'.

Check our events section for Dawn chorus walks when you are likely to hear the Chiffchaff