Family Leaf-warblers (Phylloscopidae)

Least Concern

Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)


French: Pouillot fitis German: Fitis Spanish: Mosquitero musical

Motacilla Trochilus


, 1758,

Europe = England


Has hybridized with P. collybita and P. trochiloides. Geographical variation to some extent clinal; race acredula in W of range most similar to nominate, becoming greyer and then browner towards E. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. t. trochilus (Linnaeus, 1758) – Ireland, Britain and S Sweden S to N Spain and C & NW France, E to S Poland and Romania (Carpathian Alps); winters in W Africa.
  • P. t. acredula (Linnaeus, 1758) – Scandinavia (except S Sweden) and C & E Europe E to C Siberia (E to R Yenisey, S to W Sayan Range); winters in Africa S of Sudan.
  • P. t. yakutensis Ticehurst, 1935 – C & E Siberia (R Yenisey E to R Anadyr, S to N Sayan Range); winters in E & S Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12·5 cm; 6·3–14·6 g. A medium-sized, slender leaf-warbler with long primary projection, fairly long and pointed bill, rather plain but... read more


    Call a soft disyllabic “hooeet” or “huuitt”, similar to that of P.... read more


    Breeds in deciduous and mixed forests in which birch (Betula) largely predominates, but... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly insects and their eggs and larvae; some plant material. Diet includes mayflies (Ephemeroptera), damselflies (Odonata), stoneflies (... read more


    Apr–Jul; Jun–Jul in NW Siberia; normally single-brooded, but second broods not unknown. Male frequently polygamous,... read more


    Migratory; all populations winter in Africa S of Sahara, with small numbers W & C Ethiopia, SE... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to locally abundant. European breeding population estimated to be in excess of 34,000,000 pairs, most of which (24,000,000) in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2019). Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 12 December 2019).