Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti


A medium rather compact warbler with a broad tail and short rather rounded wings. Plumage rufous-brown above, dusky greyish-white below with rusty tinge on the flanks and belly. Head pattern not unlike Reed Warbler with a narrow but not particularly distinct pale supercilium which is set off by dark lores and eye-stripe. At close range face shows off-white eye-ring. Perhaps best identified by song, which is loud amongst small European birds: a sudden explosion of clear penetrating notes that ceases as abruptly as it started and may not be repeated for several minutes or more.

Similar Species

If heard unlikely to be confused with any other species but on sight alone could be confused with either Reed Warbler or Savi's Warbler (Savi's being extremely rare within the UK).

Identification difficulty

Frequents dense scrub in damp places. Brambles, reeds and willows being the dominant vegetation. They nest in thick vegetation and forage on damp bare ground beneath the scrub and in thick cover.

When to see it

It can be seen at anytime during the year and is considered as resident.

Life History

The male spends much time patrolling and singing in large territories and make very little contribution to parental care. Several females may breed in the territory of one male.

UK Status

This species colonised the UK in the late 1960 and initially established near Canterbury in Kent before spreading west along the south coast and north into Suffolk (first confirmed breeding was in 1973). The expansion as continued, although it is susceptible to hard winters such that following several in the late seventies and eighties not one was left in Kent, although it has since been recorded again there.

VC55 Status

In Leicestershire & Rutland it is classified as an uncommon visitor and rare breeder with just three confirmed breeding records up to and including 2010.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Cetti's Warbler
Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
17/07/2011 (N. Grice)
Last record:
19/02/2024 (Messenger, Nigel)

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% of records within its species group

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