The British Trust for Ornithology
WHITETHROAT
Sylvia communis
Whitethroat © Tommy Holden
Conservation listings

Unlisted/Green
Biodiversity Steering Group Conservation Concern List

Long-term trend
UK: Rapid decline followed by shallow recovery since early 1970s
Linear waterways: Moderate recovery
Scrub (CES): Moderate decline
 
Status summary
Whitethroat populations crashed in the late 1960s because of droughts in their wintering grounds (Winstanley et al. 1974). Population sizes have since remained stable, although there is some evidence of recovery in farmland areas. Inter-annual fluctuations in abundance are related to over-winter survival (Baillie & Peach 1992). Other trans-Saharan migrant warblers have shared similarly timed population changes (Siriwardena et al. 1998b). Productivity, measured by the CES, shows a recent decline which may be associated with a reduction in average clutch size.
 
 
Table of population changes for Whitethroat
Source Period
(yrs)
Years Plots
(n)
Change
(%)
Lower
limit
Upper
limit
Alert Comment
CBC all habitats 31 1968-1999 118 -55 -69 -36 >50  
  25 1974-1999 118 44 6 93    
  10 1989-1999 117 39 20 61    
  5 1994-1999 121 19 9 31    
CBC farmland 31 1968-1999 65 -37 -54 -16 >25  
  25 1974-1999 64 133 79 191    
  10 1989-1999 71 60 35 88    
  5 1994-1999 74 27 13 43    
CBC woodland 31 1968-1999 29 -83 -90 -67 >50  
  25 1974-1999 29 -57 -72 -31 >50  
  10 1989-1999 29 -15 -37 6    
  5 1994-1999 31 -6 -27 15    
WBS waterways 24 1975-1999 40 71 -23 225    
  10 1989-1999 55 133 72 230    
  5 1994-1999 62 32 18 51    
CES adults 15 1984-1999 57 -33 . . [>25]  
  10 1989-1999 70 -32 . . [>25*]  
  5 1994-1999 78 -28 . . [>25*]  
CES juveniles 15 1984-1999 62 -45 . . [>25]  
  10 1989-1999 74 -42 . . [>25*]  
  5 1994-1999 83 -40 . . [>25*]  
BBS UK 6 1994-2000 969 26 18 34    
BBS England 6 1994-2000 844 25 18 34    
BBS Scotland 6 1994-2000 54 33 -7 91    
BBS Wales 6 1994-2000 60 19 -7 51    

The Breeding Bird Survey is jointly funded by BTO, JNCC and RSPB

 
 
Table of productivity information for Whitethroat
Variable Period
(yrs)
Years Mean
annual
sample
Trend Predicted
in first year
Predicted
in last year
Change Comment
Clutch size 31 1968-1999 26 Curvilinear 4.59 eggs 4.54 eggs -0.05 eggs Small sample
Brood size 31 1968-1999 61 None        
Daily failure rate (eggs) 31 1968-1999 37 None        
Daily failure rate (chicks) 31 1968-1999 45 None        
Laying date 31 1968-1999 17 None       Small sample
Percentage juveniles (CES) 15 1984-1999 73 Smoothed trend 138 productivity index 100 productivity index -28%[>25]  
Percentage juveniles (CES) 10 1989-1999 86 Smoothed trend 137 productivity index 100 productivity index -27%[>25]  
Percentage juveniles (CES) 5 1994-1999 95 Smoothed trend 138 productivity index 100 productivity index -27%[>25]  
 




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This report should be cited as:
Baillie, S.R., Crick, H.Q.P., Balmer, D.E., Beaven, L.P., Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Leech, D.I., Marchant, J.H.,
Noble, D.G., Raven, M.J., Simpkin, A.P., Thewlis, R.M. and Wernham, C.V.
(2002) Breeding Birds in the Wider
Countryside: their conservation status 2001. BTO Research Report No. 278. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

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