• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Dartford Warbler - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Andy Bright
Suffolk, U.K., October 2005
Curruca undata

Sylvia undata


12·5 cm (5 in)

  • Rufous below
  • Grey back
  • Grey head
  • Red throat with white spots
  • Red iris
  • Long tail


  • Paler underparts
  • More of a brown grey below


Photo © by scottishdude
Minsmere, May, 2009

Breeds in southern England, the Channel Islands and southernmost Wales, in western France and on the Mediterranean coast and throughout Iberia. Also breeds on Menorca, on Corsica and Sardinia, southern Italy and north-east Sicily and in coastal North Africa in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.

Britain lies on the northern edge of this species' range and it occurs mainly in southern England with the bulk of the population found from Devon to Sussex and Surrey with small numbers in Cornwall and on the Isle of Wight. With global warming, the species has increased and spread north in recent decades, and now breeds in coastal heaths in south Wales, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk; extralimital breeding has also occurred in north Wales and Staffordshire.[2]

Vagrants have been recorded in Ireland, Scotland, Belgium and the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden, and east to Greece and the former Yugoslavia, and also in Libya.


This is a polytypic species[1] consisting of 3 subspecies.


Photo © by the late Mahsleb
Dunwich Heath, Saxmundham, Suffolk, July 2010
  • C. u. dartfordiensis: has a dark brown mantle
  • C. u. undata: has a slate-grey mantle
  • C. u. toni: the palest race, is greyish-brown above and paler and duller below


In north of range found on open heathland with abundant gorse (Ulex sp.) and heather (Calluna vulgaris) to provide cover, further south in dense thorny scrub and maquis, sometimes in open pinewoods. In Spain it is mainly present in areas with low scrub (no taller than 1 metre) without trees (or with only few). Slopes with Gum Cistus (Cistus ladanifer) are a favourite.


Photo © by manorjim
Dunwich Heath, Suffolk, June 2014


The diet consists mostly of insects and spiders, with the addition of berries outside of the breeding season.


It nests in low vegetation. The clutch consists of 3-6 eggs.


Mainly resident, but some birds, mainly juveniles, wander in winter and range expands in the south of range, especially on Balearics, Malta, Sicily, and in North Africa.


Song: a scratchy rattling warble. Call has been described as a sort of lowish buzz "ddzzz".


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Bird Atlas 2007-11. BTO.
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved February 2016)
  4. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1