Lesser Whitethroats

There has been some debate in Denmark concerning a putative desert lesser whitethroat. It reminds me to some extent of the tristis-chiffchaffs. Apparently they are rare in western Europe, but here on the Faroes the tristis-chiffchaffs are the “standard” phyllos from mid october onwards.  The same can be said about the pale lesser whitethroats. They become the “standard” lesser whitethroats from october onwards. I’ve seen five pale lesser whitethroats this autumn including one today. But what are they? Desert lesser whitethroats? Without giving any expositions or doing exegesis on Sylvia Warblers by Shirihai et al. I’m gonna post some pics! Enjoy!

Typical ssp. curruca - 2. cy+ in spring (Hvalba, Suðuroy)

Ssp. curruca - 2. cy+ in spring, Ankara, Turkey

Prob. ssp. curruca - 11th october 2011, Svínoy. Note rather saturated colouration all over, lack of obvious white on second outermost tail feathers and grey crown.

A pale bird with sandy colours and pale crown. Sandoy, october 2011.

Sandoy oct. 2011

Two pale birds were present on the same garden on Sandoy

A poor flight-shot of one of the two birds on Sandoy, oct. 2011.

A pale bird with a pale crown - Svínoy oct. 2009

A pale bird from Viðareiði nov. 2010. Note white on second outermost tail feather possibly indicating an eastern origin.

Hm... I just think I need to get some DNA-tests... I love it when birding identification ends up in the lab...







One comment on “Lesser Whitethroats

  1. Svein-Ole Mikalsen says:

    Hello Silas
    Interesting. Far from being experts in the area, but still: NVD is now establishing the methods that would be needed for such studies. But as you probably would guess, we are starting the molecular lab from scratch, little money and few hands and heads. Eyðfinn’s house sparrow will be the first bird species to go through the mill.



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