Whitethroat

Whitethroat ©Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

Whitethroat

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Scientific name: Sylvia communis
The male whitethroat does, indeed, have a white throat! Arriving from Sub-Saharan Africa in April, it can be spotted on grassland and scrub, and along hedgerows. It is bigger than the lesser whitethroat.

Top facts

Stats

Length: 14cm
Wingspan: 20cm
Weight: 16g
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 October

About

The whitethroat is a medium-sized, long-tailed warbler of grassland, scrub and hedgerows. It is a summer visitor and passage migrant, breeding in many areas, but avoiding urban and mountainous places. Males whitethroats build nests out of twigs and roots and the females then decide which to take. whitethroats winter in Africa, leaving our shores in early October and heading as far as South Africa.

What to look for

Male whitethroats are sandy-grey above, with pale grey heads, pinkish-buff breasts and bright white throats. Females are duller. They are larger than lesser whitethroats, have longer tails, and sport rusty-brown edges to their wing feathers.

Where to find

A widespread summer visitor.

Did you know?

Male whitethroats arrive in the UK about 10 days earlier than females in order to set up territories before their potential partners arrive.