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BTO Blueline
Sylvia communis
Whitethroat © Tommy Holden

• Population

• Productivity

• Additional

Conservation listings
Europe: no SPEC category (concentrated in Europe, conservation status favourable)
UK: green
Long-term trend
UK, England: rapid decline, followed by shallow increase
UK population size
945,000 territories in 2000 (1988–91 Atlas estimate updated using CBC/BBS trend: BiE04, APEP06)
Status summary
Whitethroat populations had been stable for a few years up to 1968 but, after a normal autumn departure for Africa, crashed by around 70% between the 1968 and 1969 breeding seasons. They fluctuated around their lower level until the mid 1980s, since when they have sustained a consistent shallow recovery. Recovery has been most apparent along linear waterways. In a pioneering study, Winstanley et al. (1974) linked the 1969 crash to droughts in the Whitethroat's wintering grounds in the western Sahel, just south of the Sahara Desert. Annual fluctuations in abundance, which are not shown in the smoothed trends, correlate to those in overwinter survival (Baillie & Peach 1992). Other trans-Saharan migrant warblers have shared similarly timed population changes in abundance (Siriwardena et al. 1998b). Productivity, as measured by CES, rose during the 1980s and has since fluctuated. It seems likely that habitat loss since the 1960s, particularly on farmland, will eventually limit the degree of recovery.

Population changes

CBC/BBS UK graph
BBS acknowledgement
CBC/BBS England graph
WBS UK graph
CES adult abundance graph
CES juvenile abundance graph
BBS UK graph
BBS England graph
BBS Scotland graph
BBS Wales graph

Productivity trends

Clutch size graph
Brood size graph
Egg nest failure graph
Chick nest failure graph
Laying date graph
CES productivity

Additional information

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This report should be cited as:
Baillie, S.R., Marchant, J.H., Crick, H.Q.P., Noble, D.G., Balmer, D.E., Coombes, R.H.,
Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Joys, A.C., Leech, D.I., Raven, M.J., Robinson, R.A. and Thewlis, R.M. (2006)
Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2005.
BTO Research Report No. 435. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

Pages maintained by Susan Waghorn and Iain Downie: Last updated 11 November, 2008