Latham, 1787, England
The common whitethroat (Sylvia communis) is a common and widespread typical warbler which breeds throughout Europe and across much of temperate western Asia. This small passerine bird is strongly migratory, and winters in tropical Africa, Arabia, and Pakistan.
This is one of several Sylvia species that has distinct male and female plumages. Both sexes are mainly brown above and buff below, with chestnut fringes to the secondary remiges. The adult male has a grey head and a white throat. The female lacks the grey head, and the throat is duller. The whitethroat's song is fast and scratchy, with a scolding tone.
The hoarse, a little bit nasal call sounds like wed-wed or woid-woid. The warning cry is long-pulled, rough tschehr which resembles that of the Dartford warbler.
This species was believed by some to be closely related to the lesser whitethroat, the species having evolved only during the end of the last ice age similar to the willow warbler and chiffchaffs. But researchers learned soon that this is not correct, and now it is known that whitethroats are unreliable morphological markers for relationships in Sylvia. Chestnut wing patches, like whitethroats, seem to be plesiomorphic, but indicate phylogeny better. Nonetheless, apart from the whitethroat not being closely related to the lesser whitethroat group, little can be resolved as it seems a fairly basal taxon.(Helbig 2001, Jønsson & Fjeldså 2006)
This is a bird of open country and cultivation, with bushes for nesting. The nest is built in low shrub or brambles, and 3-7 eggs are laid. Like most "warblers", it is insectivorous, but will also take berries and other soft fruit.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sylvia communis.|
- Helbig, A. J. (2001): Phylogeny and biogeography of the genus Sylvia. In: Shirihai, Hadoram: Sylvia warblers: 24-25[verification needed]. Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J. ISBN 0-691-08833-0
- Jønsson, Knud A. & Fjeldså, Jon (2006): A phylogenetic supertree of oscine passerine birds (Aves: Passeri). Zool. Scripta 35(2): 149–186. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2006.00221.x (HTML abstract)
- Shirihai, Hadoram; Gargallo, Gabriel; Helbig, Andreas J. (2001). Sylvia Warblers: Identification, Taxonomy and Phylogeny of the Genus Sylvia. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 978-071363984-1.
- Ageing and sexing (PDF; 4.0 MB) by Javier Blasco-Zumeta & Gerd-Michael Heinze
- Images at www.naturlichter.com
- Common whitethroat - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds.