Lesser Whitethroat

  • Hi again,

    Think I’ve got a couple of clearer videos if anyone is still interested. I’ve had to chop them right down or they won’t post. Hopefully they’ll look as clear when uploaded as they do on my iPhone!

    I’ve also been keeping in touch with the county recorder, whose been sending me info, his initial response to the sighting was this…..

    Hi Sharon

    Many thanks for the information. This is an interesting sighting.

    As your friend comments: a Lesser Whitethroat. We get an occasional one which winters in the UK, but they are not suspected of being the same race as our regular summer visitor, ( or possibly Species, the jury is out scientifically), so they actually are a rarity. This bird does look small and very brown on the upperparts which suggests the race "Blythi", but taxonomy of these subspecies of "Eastern Lesser Whitethroats" is very difficult in the field. In fact only a feather or faecal sample where DNA can be extracted would accurately identify the bird and its origins.

    Some features to look out for are firstly the call: A grating or buzzing, tit-like call ‘che-che-che-che-che’ is typical of some eastern forms, but all Lesser Whitethroats also give the familiar ‘tak’ call, and the extent of white out the outer tail feathers is another feature, Eastern birds have very white outer tail feathers and some lack the dark marks up the feather shaft when seen from below!.

    I would be very interested in how long the bird remains in your garden, they regularly come to feeders, particularly fat balls, dried mealworms or suet etc in the winter , so please update me as to how long it stays for and if you manage any other photographs, especially of the tail, then please forward them onto me.

    Thanks again for the sighting, and enjoy, they are great little birds!

    Kind Regards

    Hugh Pulsford
    Cheshire and Wirral County Bird Recorder

  • In reply to Mike B:

    Hi Mike

    I’ve posted another couple of short videos that I think maybe a little clearer and some additional info from the county recorder, if you’re still interested