Male Whitethroat identification
Dull brown back
Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide
Adult male
Long tail, dark with white outer feathers
Bluish grey head
Note the distinct white throat, blue-grey head and rich chestnut coloured wings. You can just see the white edging to the birds tail feathers.
Bright chestnut wings
White eye ring


Sylvia communis
Distinctive white throat
Similar Species
Subalpine Warbler (Rare)
Long tail
Pinkish red breast
White stripe on cheek
Pale blue-grey head
Red eye ring
Paler belly
Adult Female
Subalpine Warbler
Dartford Warbler (Rare)
Long tail
Dark red breast
Pale spots on throat
Brownish-grey head and back
Red eye ring
Bill yellow at base
Dartford warbler
Pale underside can be slightly pink
Female Whitethroat showing chestnut wings
Male Whitethroat
Whitethroat side view
The female has a brown head but is otherwise similar to the male, the chestnut wings usually confirm the birds identity.
Play call/song
Pale legs
Sardinian Warbler
Sardinian Warbler (Rare)
Long dark tail with white edges
Whitish underside
Pale grey back
Deep black head and cheeks
Red eye ring
Distinctive white throat
Lesser Whitethroat
Dark smudge through eye
Pale whitish underside pink tinge
Dull grey-brown back
Bluish grey head
Dark grey legs
Distinctive white throat
Long tail, dark, edged white
Lesser Whitethroat
Lesser Whitethroat
Whitethroat or Lesser Whitethroat?
Both birds can share the same habitat and have similar distribution, except the Lesser does not breed in most of Scotland. The distinctive white throat and grey head is common to both birds but the birds back colour is very different with the rich chestnut of the Whitethroat differentiating it from the  dull grey-brown of the Lesser. The birds legs are different colours with the Lesser having almost black legs and the Whitethroat having pale orange. The dark smudge on the Lesser's face can be distinctive depending on light conditions.
Lesser Whitethroat
Warbler Menu
Order: Passeriformes

Family: Sylviidae

Genus: Sylvia

Species: S. communis
A summer visitor to the UK, breeding in almost all of Europe and the UK. Considered a common bird in Europe, however numbers of UK breeding birds continue to fall.

Thick dense bushes and scrub, particularly fond of Bramble thickets in the corner of fields which are surrounded by nettles.

The male Whitethroat is well known for his loud vigorous song usually delivered from the top of a Bramble bush were he is easy to study. On bright days the white throat patch is the dominant feature, frequently puffed up as the bird sings. The female bird, seen less often, is recognised by her white throat and rich chestnut coloured wings. Numbers of Whitethroat are dwindling in the UK and it is thought this is due to increasing drought conditions in Sahel, South of the Sahara which holds Britains wintering birds.