The poor Dartford Warbler is on the back foot. Declining at a “moderately rapid rate”, the Spanish population, the largest in Europe at 1.7 to 3 million pairs, is thought to have been reduced by 5.9% between 1998 and 2006 with a possible Euro-wide breeding population decline of up to 40%. It is particularly vulnerable to cold winters causing a high mortality rate and also to the usual habitat degradation mainly due to cattle breeding. Sources do say though that even though increased forest fires affect it, it is one of the first back to colonise affected territories. Unfortunately however it is listed as Near Threatened.
It favours scrubland and maquis up to a height of 1.5m which is exactly where this bird is near Valverde. A very dapper and smart looking bird it holds its tail up high as it flits about the undergrowth.