Lesser Whitethroat

Lesser Whitethroat / Sylvia curruca / هازجة فيراني

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Status: Abundant

The Lesser Whitethroat belongs to the Sylviidae (Old World warblers) family in the Passeriformes order.

The Lesser Whitethroat is a small warbler who migrate great distances. It has gray-brown upperparts, a gray crown and tail. It has distinctive dark gray ear coverts, darker than the crown, dark iris, Black legs and white edges to the tail. Body length: 12-15 cm. Weight: 9-13 g. Distribution: The Lesser Whitethroat is common in Europe and Asia with a broad distribution range from Western Europe, through the Middle East to East Asia. In Palestine: A very common migrant in spring (March to May) and autumn (August to October). Absent in winter. Might be a rare breeder in the high mountains of Samaria.

Conservation status: Least concern (LC)

Habitat: The Lesser Whitethroat breeds in low thickets, forest edges, hedges, and woodlands. In Asia, more often found in deserts with dry slopes and small shrubs. During migration this warbler can be found in all habitats with some vegetation. Eats insects during the breeding season, but will eat fruit and nectar during migration for energy.

Behavior: The Lesser Whitethroat moves from branch to branch in dense vegetation with its strong legs. It usually holds his tail a bit high on movement and in flight.

Breeding: The bowl shaped nest is built in low shrub or brambles, and 3–7 eggs are laid.

Dangers and threats: Lime sticks are used to trap the Lesser Whitethroats in southern Europe. Habitat destruction and droughts in East Africa can cause a massive death of these warblers as they need these habitats for crossing the Sahara desert.

Similar species not to confuse with: The Greater Whitethroat is slightly larger, with orange legs and a brown patch on their wings. The Orphean Warbler is similar but distinctively larger.

Cool facts: Lesser Whitethroats can fly around 8,000 km during migration. The western population from the UK uses only the east Mediterranean flyway on its way to Africa for unknown, probably historic reasons. In Palestine in autumn its migration is dependent on the fruits of the Pistachio tree and the pollen of the Christ thorn tree.