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A small, long tailed warbler. from a distance these birds look dark and very plain which blends well with their natural environment. However, close up the colours really show. The upper surfaces are a dark slate blue with the throat, breast and belly a dark plum red. They also have small white spots on the throat. Legs are a buttery yellow and they have a red eye ring. These birds were feeding fledged chicks so are looking a little worn.
Lowland heath with large areas of dense heather and gorse. In the UK these birds do not migrate, so over winter. This means that they are very susceptible to the cold and need dense cover to shelter in during the colder months. Also they are entirely insectivorous so if there food freezes and die so do they. These birds were observed on Studland Heath in the south of England. Food appeared to be plentiful with each adult bird collecting prey items (mainly caterpillars) every few minutes.
This species is still Amber listed in the UK but is doing alright and has recovered from just a few pairs in the 1960's when several harsh winters decimated the population, to a few thousand today.