Distribution Britain 45 (+60.7%) Ireland 0
Numbers breeding: Britain 1,679 Ireland 0
European status: 2,600,000 (0% in Britain and Ireland =5) British population trend: seriously increasing and expanding
How likely are you to record it? 8 squares (0.2%) Ranked 155=
The Dartford Warbler has always been associated with gorse scrub and as a largely resident small insectivorous bird was subject to huge losses after cold winter weather. At the end of the 19th century, before huge losses following two cold winters, they were present in all counties south of the Thames and west to Dorset with a very few in Cornwall, Shropshire and coastal Suffolk. Later they were largely confined to Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. Fluctuating populations due to cold winters and the loss of heathland habitat led to a maximum of about 450 pairs immediately before the two cold winters of 1961/62 and 1962/63. These knocked the population back to ten pairs in 1963 (excluding the Channel Isles) and these had more than doubled, to 22, by 1966. After a good series of mild winters over 900 were estimated by 1990 only a couple of dozen outside of Hampshire, Dorset and Surrey. A national survey found 1600 pairs in 1994 and there may have been more by 1997 when, despite the loss of many areas of heathland, territories have been found in Avon, Berkshire, Norfolk and Suffolk as well as the core areas. Soon Kent (one pair 1995) will have this warbler named after one of their heaths back and regularly breeding provided the winters stay mild!
Search for another Species
From The State of the Nations Birds
Copyright © 2000 by Chris Mead