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(Common) Whitethroat
Sylvia communis
Size: 13-15cm
UK Status: common migrant breader / very common passage visitor

 This bird lives in open and cultivated country, using bushes for nesting. Breeding in hedgerows and scrub on arable farmland, heath and woodland margins. The nest is built in low shrub or brambles, and 3-7 eggs are laid. Sometimes two broods, incubation takes 11-13 days and young fledge after 10 days. The adult male has a grey head and a white throat which is prominent when singing. In flight can appear slim and long tailed. The white-edged tail is also a useful identification feature as is the obvious white eye-ring. The legs are yellowish brown. The bill has a yellow buff with the upper bill darker and a darker grey black tip. When singing with the raised crown feathers, the Whitethroat often gives a startled appearance. The clean white throat is distinctive but not diagnostic, look also for the rusty-red chestnut colour of its wings.

The female lacks the grey head, and the throat is duller. Like most warblers, it is insectivorous, but will also take berries and other soft fruit. The Whitethroat's song is short fast and scratchy, with a scolding tone.The White throat may be confused with the lesser Whitethroat but the lesser has darker blackish legs and a darker grey bill and has a grey brown back.

A common summer visitor, the White throat is rarely seen in the Northern Isles where it is virtually absent. Widespread and common throughout most of Europe .throughout England, Wales and Ireland, but rare in the Scottish Highlands, commonly found in eastern England. In our winters the White throat is in the tropics reaching as far as South Africa and India, it is a trans-Saharan migrant warbler. Whitethroat populations crashed in 1969 because of drought in their wintering grounds attributed to the Sahel drought.

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