basic information

Common Chiffchaff

Phylloscopus collybita (Vieillot, 1817)

Пеночка-теньковка | Саяшыл сарықас

Almaty. Republic Square.
© Askar Isabekov


The adult Chiffchaffs in spring and summer have brownish-grey upperparts, sometimes with non-plain olive or greenish tinge, best expressed on the rump. The supercilium is light (grayish-yellow or pale-buffy). The flight and tail feathers are brownish with greenish or grayish edges; the wing bars are absent. The underparts are whitish buffy-brown tinged on the craw, breast, flanks and undertail; on western races with dimmer yellow longitudinal spots. The bill is dark-brownish, legs are black or dark-brown. The Chiffchaff is resemble the Willow Warbler but is well distinguished by the black legs and dark bill. In fresh plumage the greenish or greenish-olive tone of the upperparts are well expressed. Juveniles in first autumn plumage is slightly brighter than adults in fresh plumage. The greyer eastern subspecies Siberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus (collybita) tristis) is sometimes considered to be a full species and has a very distinct call and song


The Chiffchaff breeds in the uplands of northern Kazakhsatn and in Altai. On migration it occurs throughout. The detailed distribution in Kazakhstan please see in the section Subspecies.


The Chiffchaff is abundant, in places common breeding migrant. It inhabits the forest skirts with bushes and the open places with the meadow-steppe vegetation; on plains and in mountings, from 500-700 up to 2800-3000 m. On migration it occurs on the fields (sunflower especially), in the forest-belts, gardens, xerophytic mountains without forest vegetation and in thickets of tall weeds. It appears in the end February – early March (latest in mid-April) in south of Kazakhstan, and in the end March – early April in northern areas. It migrates mainly in flocks of 25-40 birds, but sometimes in small groups and in pairs. It breeds in separate pairs not close one to another. Nest is built by female (male escort it) in bush (deciduous or juniper), tall grass, rare in pine or on the ground under the grass; nest is built from the thin twigs, grass and rootlets and is lined with hair and vegetation fluff. Clutches of 4-5 eggs found in first decade of April – mid-July. Female incubates 13-16 days, both parents feed nestling, which fledge at 12-14 days old, in first decade of June – end August. The long breeding period is explained not only by the phenology on different altitudes, but also by the replaced breeding after losing of the first clutch, and the rearing of two broods per year in some places. Broods disperse on some time then joined in flocks; and in end August – September birds start to migrate in flocks of 20-50 birds. In Ural valley birds migrate in October mainly. In small numbers it winters in some places of southern Kazakhstan.


Phylloscopus collybita abietinus (Nilsson, 1819)

    Description. The upperparts are brownish-greenish, more greenish and less brownish than on fulvescens. The greenish color is most intensive on the rump. The underparts are with the slight expressed yellow spots.
    Distribution. The indication on the breeding in the middle currents of Ural and Ilek rivers was not confirmed subsequently. On migration it occurs in Western Kazakhstan.

Phylloscopus collybita fulvescens (Severtzov, 1873)

    Description. The upperparts are brown with the slightly greenish-olive tinge; the underparts are without yellow color, or sometimes with slightly expressed yellow spots. The greenish tinge on the rump is less intensive than on abietinus.
    Distribution. Breeds in Kokchetav upland, Shortandy area and in Pavlodar Trans-Irtysh area, in south probably up to Karkaralinsk. On migration occurs throughout.

Phylloscopus collybita tristis (Blyth, 1843)

    Description. The upperparts are dark-brown; on the underparts the yellow color is absent. The rump sometimes is with a slightly greenish-olive tinge.
    Distribution. Breeds in the taiga of Southwest Altai; in the pine woods of Kalbinskiy Altai; and probably in Irtysh valley. On migration it is common in foothills of Northern Tien Shan; in west up to lowers of Syrdarya and Turgay rivers, and to upper current of Emba river.


"Птицы Казахстана" том 4. "Наука", Алма-Ата. 1972. Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999. В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург, Изд-во Уральского университета, 2000.



Phylloscopus collybita abietinus
(Nilsson, 1819)
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Phylloscopus collybita fulvescens
(Severtzov, 1873)
information gallery
Phylloscopus collybita tristis
(Blyth, 1843)
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unidentified birds


Сергей Силантьев: Добавил


Сергей Силантьев: Для наглядности выставил скомпанованный снимок, где слева черноголовый щегол, справа седоголовый щегол, а в центре этот экземпляр....Кроме


Анна Ясько: Сергей, спасибо за доп. снимки. Птица слева на 2 фото - ближе к черноголовому, но я не уверена во второй птице (та, что справа). "Окраска верха

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