Belongs to: warblers

Compare with: reed warbler

Cetti's warbler Cettia cetti

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Britain's only resident warbler, with the short explosive song

Breeding was first recorded in the 1970s and since then it has spread slowly to c. 500 pairs today, in S. England and Wales

Found in large wetlands, including the Ingrebourne Marshes and Wat Tyler CP, usually in small colonies


Stocky, dark brown bird with a pale front and a rounded tail; 14 cm

A skulking bird, usually singing its short, explosive song from deep cover; also sings overnight when breeding 

Feeds mainly on insects, taken on or near the ground


Nests beside water in dense vegetation

Lays 2 broods of 4–5 bright red eggs, May to June

Vulnerable to very cold winters, birds in East Anglia being virtually wiped out in the 1980s

  • Main photo

Photo © Reg Mellis