Belongs to: warblers

Compare with: whitethroat

Lesser whitethroat Sylvia curruca

Best time to see: mid Apr to early Oct

Key facts

A shy grey-and-white bird of scrub and tall hedgerows

Habitat: old hedges or dense scrub with trees

Widespread summer visitor from sub-Saharan Africa


Basically grey above and white below, with white outer tail feathers; 13–14 cm

Usually seen flitting rapidly from bush to bush; sometimes runs along the ground feigning injury to distract intruders

Feeds mainly on insects and some berries in autumn; song is a rattle starting with quiet chattery notes 


Male builds trial nests and the female lines the chosen one with hair

Nest is a neat cup of stalks and hair low in a bush or hedge

Often 2 broods of 4–6 pale cream eggs, blotched olive, May to July

© David Harrison