Whitethroat ©Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography


Scientific name: Sylvia communis
The male whitethroat does, indeed, have a white throat! Arriving from Sub-Saharan Africa in April, it can be spotted on grassland and scrub, and along hedgerows. It is bigger than the lesser whitethroat.

Species information


Length: 14cm
Wingspan: 20cm
Weight: 16g
Average lifespan: 2 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015).

When to see

April to October


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 as South Africa.

How to identify

Male whitethroats are sandy-grey above, with pale grey heads, pinkish-buff breasts and bright white throats. Females are duller. They are larger than lesser whitethroats, have longer tails, and sport rusty-brown edges to their wing feathers.


A widespread summer visitor.

Did you know?

Male whitethroats arrive in the UK about 10 days earlier than females in order to set up territories before their potential partners arrive.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.