Lesser whitethroat

©Margaret Holland

Lesser whitethroat

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Scientific name: Sylvia curruca
The lesser whitethroat is smaller than its cousin, the whitethroat, and sports dark cheek feathers that give it a 'mask'. Most likely to be heard around woodland and scrub, rather than seen.

Top facts

Stats

Length: 13cm
Wingspan: 18cm
Weight: 12g
Average lifespan: 2 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015).

When to see

April to September

About

The lesser whitethroat is a medium-sized warbler of dense scrub and woodland edges that arrives in the UK in April. It is a secretive bird, so is most easily located by its rattling, monotonous song. Lesser whitethroats winter in Africa; they leave our shores in September and head east around the Mediterranean, rather than through Gibraltar like most of our migrating birds.

What to look for

Male and female lesser whitethroats are very similar. They are greyish-brown above and creamy-grey below, with grey heads, dark grey cheeks or 'masks', white throats and white chests. Lesser whitethroats are smaller than whitethroats, and have shorter tails and plain-coloured wing edges.

Where to find

A widespread summer visitor.

Did you know?

Lesser whitethroats spend the winter in Africa, Arabia and India.