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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Whitethroat

Sylvia communis

  • Name also: Greater Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat
  • Family: Warblers – Sylviidae
  • Appearance: Active warblers, slightly larger and longer-tailed than the similar Lesser Whitethroat. Wing coverts and outer edges of primary wing feathers mainly rusty brown. Distinctive whitish colouring on throat.
  • Size: Length 13–15 cm, weight 13–21 g.
  • Nest: On the ground, low in a bush or among reedy grasses. Made of straw, bound with spider’s webs and fine plant material, lined with hair, root fibres and a few feathers. Males build several nests during courtship for females to choose from.
  • Breeding: 3–7 eggs laid in May, incubated by both parents for 11–13 days. Fledglings remain in nest for 9–14 days.
  • Distribution: Breeds in open scrubland habitats in Southern and Central Finland. Range extends as far north as Oulu. Finnish breeding population estimated at 250,000–400,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Leaves Finland August–September, returning May–June. Winters in tropical Africa.
  • Diet: Invertebrates.
  • Calls: A sharp clicking “tsek”. Song rapid and clattering.

Whitethroats are best distinguished in all plumages by their rusty brown wings. They are slender with fairly long tails. Their white throats have a clearly defined border with their darker cheeks. Males in summer plumage have greyish heads, but females’ heads are mainly brownish. In autumn plumage Whitethroats are more generally darkish brown, with more yellowish brown tinged underparts. They have pale brown legs, greyish brown beaks with a bluish pink base to the lower mandible, and greenish or reddish brown irises.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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