Sylvia communis


The Whitethroat is a medium-sized, long-tailed warbler of grassland, scrub and hedgerows. It is a summer visitor and passage migrant, breeding in many areas but avoiding urban and mountainous places. Males Whitethroats build nests out of twigs and roots and the females then decide which to take. Whitethroats winter in Africa, leaving our shores in early October and heading as far south as South Africa.

How to identify

Male Whitethroats are sandy-grey above, with orange fringes to the wing feathers, a pale grey head, pinkish-buff breast and bright white throat. Females are duller. They can be distinguished from the smaller, Lesser Whitethroat by the rusty brown edges to their wing feathers, pinky chest and longer tail.

Where to find it

A widespread summer visitor.


When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

During the 1960s, Whitethroats sustained heavy losses as their wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa suffered major drought - breeding Whitethroats suffered a 90% drop in the UK. Numbers have not fully recovered yet, but are on the up. The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland and woodland nature reserves sympathetically for Whitethroats and other bird species. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Sylvia communis
Tits, goldcrests and warblers
Length: 14cm Wingspan: 20cm Weight: 16g Average Lifespan: 2 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.