It’s me Cetti, Cetti, Cetti!

2011_02_02 PO - Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti) 09
Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti)

The reed beds are alive with sounds these days. Reed Warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Great Reed Warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Cettis Warblers (Cettia cetti) are all making themselves heard at the moment. Some are more obvious than others. The Reed Warblers are all making their rausous krakking sound and can be seen high up in the reeds whilst others, such as the Cettis stay low and hidden.

2011_02_02 PO - Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti) 06
Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti)

The Cettis Warbler is named after Francesco Cetti, and Italian zoologist who lived from 1726 to 1778. It is resident here in Spain all year round and can be a hard bird to photograph. It loves to skulk about low in the reeds near the water, always moving in the shadows. You hear it first with it’s distinctive call and then, if you keep your eyes open, you will see one flitting about in amongst the reeds.

2011_02_02 PO - Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti) 02
Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti)

They are quite a dull bird and can look quite similar to the Reed Warbler, but with a warm reddish-brown back, a narrow pale supercilium and greyish breast. The tail is generally held cocked up unlike the straight held tail of the Reed Warbler and the undertail coverts are dark brown with pale tips.

Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti)

So here are some interesting facts. Did you know that it is unique amongst birds in Britain, where it has become a recent breeder since 1973, in having only ten tail feathers, and in laying bright red eggs? It is also the only bush warbler to occur outside Asia. And finally a group of warblers has many collective nouns, including a “bouquet”, “confusion”, “fall”, and “wrench” of warblers. I have never seen a group of these warblers, generally just a pair along a patch of reedbeds, but certainly this bird singing its very distinctive song is, whilst frustrating to photograph, a delight to see and hear.

Go birding and find warblers in La Mancha, Spain with Oretani Wildlife.

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