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Common Whitethroat

Sylvia communis (Latham, 1787)

Серая славка | Сұр сандуғаш
adult

2011-08-14
Almaty, Republic Square
© Askar Isabekov

Description

The Common Whitethroat is less than Sparrow bird. The upperparts are mostly grey; upperwings are rusty (broad rusty edges on the greater coverts and inner primaries); the throat is clear white. From Lesser Whitethroat it is distinguished by the paler crown; rusty upperwings; clear white eye ring; buffy legs; long tail; and larger size. The underwings are grey. Both sexes are identical, but spring male often have pink tinge on the flanks and breast; the outer tail feathers have clear white outer webs; the female doesn't have pink tinge, the outer webs of outer tail feathers are pale-buffy or light-brown. Also female has not so clear grey but brownish crown; the male's eyes are light-brown, but female's ones are brownish or dark-brown. Juveniles are similar on adults but have buffy tinge on all plumage including throat. The rusty edges of the wing feathers are the main diagnostic difference from the Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler. Weight 12-20 grams, length about 14, wing 6,7-8,1, wingspan 18-23 cm.

Distribution

The Common Whitethroat breeds in the northern half of Kazakhstan; and also in the mountains of Eastern, Southern and South-Eastern Kazakhstan. On migration occurs throughout. The detailed distribution in Kazakhstan please see in the chapter "Races".

Biology

The Common Whitethroat is common breeding migrant. It inhabits the bushes or the tall weeds thickets in the edges of riparian, deciduous, mixed and coniferous forests; in the meadow valleys; forest-belts and gardens; sub-alpine meadows and tundra; both on plains and in mountains up to 2100-2300 m in Altai and 2600-2700 m in Tien Shan. It arrives singly, in pairs or in small groups in the end April – early May. At mountings appears in early – mid-May only. Majority of birds migrate in May, latest spring migrants recorded in early June. Breeds in separate pairs at about 50 m from each other. Nest is built in bush (honeysuckle, meadow-sweet, dog-rose, juniper) or in tall grass at 5-40 cm above the ground; or on the ground under the grass. Nest is built from the dry grass stems and is lined with thin grass, rootlets and hair. Often the male waits female for 1,5-2 weeks and it can to build on the own territory two or more unfinished nests. But sometimes female with male's participation builds another new nest. The male begins to build nest, after females appearance the female continues and finishes the building. Clutches of 4-6 eggs is in end May – early July. Only female incubates for 11-12 days. Both parents feed juveniles, which fledge at 10-12 days old, in end June – late July. Autumn migration starts in the end July, majority of birds migrate in August – early September. Latest autumn migrants recorded in end September – early October. Many (but not all) males come back to the last-year breeding territory. Females are less attached to breeding areas, but juveniles almost never come back to the birthplaces.

Subspecies

Sylvia communis communis (Latham, 1787)

    Description. Upper parts are more rusty-brownish less brown-grey than on rubicola. Crown color varies from rusty-grey to grey, majority of birds have brown-grey crown.
    Distribution. Breeds in the northern half of Kazakhstan, in south to Ural delta; lower current of Turgay river; Chu valley; and lower current of Ile river; eastward to western foothills of Altai. In south it occurs on migration.

Sylvia communis rubicola (Stresemann, 1928)

    Description. Upper parts are more clear-grey (sometimes brownish tinged) less brown-grey than on communis. Crown is usually grey, rare brown tinged.
    Distribution. Breeds in Tien Shan, Dzhungarskiy Alatau, Tarbagatay, Saur, Southwest Altai and Kalbinskiy Altai. On migration occurs in mountains foothills and in southern Kazakhstan.

References

Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург, Изд-во Уральского университета, 2000. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999.

supplement

subspecies

Sylvia communis communis
(Latham, 1787)
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Sylvia communis rubicola
(Stresemann, 1928)
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