A RARE bird, which has not been seen in Southampton for more than 30 years, has finally come back to roost in the city.

Delighted staff at The Hawthorns Urban Wildlife Centre on Southampton Common are celebrating this week after netting a Cettis Warbler during a survey of species to be found in the area.

A combination of global warming and better conditions on the common is thought to be responsible for the warbler's impromptu visit to the common's reed beds.

The Cettis Warbler usually lives in hot Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, but migrates northwards during the summer months.

Examples have been found near Lymington and Lee-on-the-Solent but none have been spied in Southampton for the past three decades - at least until last week.

The small, chestnut brown bird is usually found on the edge of reed beds. It is known to be very secretive but has an unmistakable "explosive" call.

The warbler was caught in a net used by staff to monitor bird populations. It was fitted with a ring before being returned to the wild.

Andy Welch, land management ecologist at the centre, said: "This is the first example we have ever seen of a Cettis Warbler here.

"The fact it is here is evidence of a series of mild winters we have experienced in Britain, and the fact that we have been improving the habitats on the common."