Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
Status: Widespread summer visitor from April to September.
Conservation Concern: Green-listed in Ireland. The European population has been evaluated as Secure.
Identification: Slightly larger than a Robin, and of the largest warbler species breeding in Ireland. Adult males have a pale grey head, with a large white eyering. The throat is white, with the rest of the underparts being a pinkish-brown. The back, rump and tail are a rather non-descript grey-brown. The wings are mainly black, with obvious brown centres to the feathers. Females and juveniles are nearly identical, lacking the males grey head and white eyering, but have a faint pale supercilium. The head is a grey-brown colour, as for the back and rump.
Similar Species: Other Warblers.
Call: A distinctive “vaihd-vaihd-vaihd”. The alarm call is a drawn out “chaihr”, while the song of the Whitethroat is a short scratchy warble similar to that of the Stonechat. May occasionally perform a song flight.
Diet: Feeds almost exclusively on insects and other invertebrates.
Breeding: Breeds in a variety of habitats, including scrub with gorse, hedgerows and uplands.
Wintering: Common Whitethroats winter in central and southern Africa
Where to See: Widespread in Ireland. Broad Lough in County Wicklow is a reliable site to see this species.