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Lesser Whitethroat

Sylvia curruca

The lesser whitethroat bringing food to its young. Photo Aaro Toivio.

General information. The lesser whitethroat is a common nesting bird in Finland. The distribution of the species reaches as far north as the Arctic Circle. Surveys indicate that the population has increased by roughly 40% over the past few decades.

  • Length 14 cm
  • Nests in a shrubbery, juniper or young spruce tree
  • Migratory bird. Returns from Africa in May
  • Feeds on insects

Habitat. The lesser whitethroat prefers juniper shrubbery, sunny edges of forests and juniper moorland in the archipelago. It also nests in gardens neighboring human settlements, sometimes left unnoticed. Only near the nest does the female let out a rattling warning call and can get very close to humans nearby when threatened

The majority of lesser whitethroats return to Vaasa from Africa during the month of May. One can then hear their rolling, short song sequence from the edge of the forest. At the beginning of the nesting season, the males mark their territory diligently by singing, which can be heard even during the day while other birds are already enjoying their ‘siesta’.

Distribution in Vaasa. The lesser whitethroat is, after garden warbler, the most common and most numerous warbler in Vaasa. This tiny insectivore is distributed evenly across the entire survey area, all the way to the outer archipelago. During the nesting season in May to July, it was recorded in about 210 survey blocks. According to the bird census of the 1990’s, the lesser whitethroat has been nesting in the south of Finland with a density of 1 to 2 pairs/km².