Digiscoped using Canon Powershot A640 and Kowa TSN-883 x30
The Common Whitethroat is, as its name suggests a common migrant bird to our shores in the summer months. There are over 670,000 territories in the U.K. alone, but the population does fluctuate with droughts in their wintering grounds in the Sahel area of North Africa affecting the numbers.
The bird is similar in size to a Great Tit, with the male (pictured here) having a grey head, white throat and a brown back with reddish brown edges to the wing feathers giving a `rufous` look to the closed wings. The underneath is buff, or slightly pinky with white outer tail feathers; the female has a browner head and is generally duller than the male.
The first birds start to arrive in mid April after a flight that has taken it from Africa to Britain via France, where it returns in the Autumn by a different route, taking in France, Spain and Portugal before arriving in Africa.
They breed in thick hedges, scrub, along woodland edges, in brambles, nettles or gorse and anywhere where there is tangled vegetation. The laying of eggs can start in April with the peak being in mid May. Both sexes incubate the 4-5 eggs for 9-14 days and the young leave the nest when they are 10-12 days old and stay with the parents for up to 20 days. They have two broods.