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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Whitethroat



Awaiting image for this species




(Common Whitethroat, Nettlecreeper, Singing Skyrocket, Common Whitethroated, Greater Whitethroat, Indian Whitethroat)

Sylvia communis

Gaelic: Gealan Coille


  • Whitethroat
  • Sylvia communis
  • Gaelic: Gealan Coille
  • UK: 931 thousand territories (Summer) BTO
  • UK: Migrant Breeder, Passage Visitor
  • WI: Former breeder (last record 1991), scarce passage visitor (very small numbers each year)
  • Breeding: 3-6 eggs. Nest in bushes or brambles, hedgerows. Europe, Asia
  • Wintering: Africa (Sahel region)
  • Habitat: Scrub, Coasts, villages
  • Diet: Mainly insects. Berries in autumn
  • Great Tit sized warbler. Both sexes mainly brown above & buff below. Longish tail. Male has grey head, white throat. Female lacks grey head, & has duller throat . Darts rapidly in & out of cover. Jerky flight
  • Typical lifespan 2 yrs. Max recorded age 6yrs 1mth
  • Listen to a Whitethroat (RSPB site). Short, scratchy song (scolding-tone)
  • Similar birds: Lesser Whitethroat


In 1969 the Common Whitethroat population crashed, 75% of the birds had not returned from their winter migration, this led to a 90% drop in the number of Whitethroats breeding in Britain that year. It was found to be caused by a drought in the Sahel region of Africa in 1968 where the Common Whitethroat wintered. The species slowly began to increase in numbers, but crashed again when there was another drought in the Sahel in 1984. The species has still not fully recovered.


Whitethroat records in the Western Isles

Former breeder (last record 1991), scarce passage visitor (very small numbers each year)
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)


The chart below shows how abundant the Whitethroat is during a month or when you are more likely to see it.














(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)



Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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