Wider Countryside Report Header
BTO Blueline
Main WCR menu image Site navigation menu item Results overview menu item Other info menu item BTO website menu item
BTO Blueline
WHITETHROAT
Sylvia communis
Whitethroat © Tommy Holden
 

• Population
  changes

• Productivity
  trends

• Additional
  information

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, despite a normal departure for their wintering grounds in West 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 changes in abundance (Siriwardena et al. 1998b). Productivity, as measured by CES, rose during the 1980s and has since fluctuated and fallen back. It seems likely that habitat loss since the 1960s, particularly on farmland, will eventually limit the degree of recovery. A shallow upturn has been detected widely in Europe since 1980 (PECBMS 2007).
 

Population changes

CBC/BBS UK graph
 
Table of population changes for Whitethroat

Source Period
(yrs)
Years Plots
(n)
Change
(%)
Lower
limit
Upper
limit
Alert Comment
CBC/BBS UK 39 1967-2006 447 -62 -73 -50 >50  
  25 1981-2006 627 65 30 110    
  10 1996-2006 1253 14 7 20    
  5 2001-2006 1304 7 2 10    
CBC/BBS England 39 1967-2006 388 -63 -73 -50 >50  
  25 1981-2006 543 66 32 113    
  10 1996-2006 1082 13 8 17    
  5 2001-2006 1120 4 1 7    
WBS waterways 31 1975-2006 41 171 15 367    
  25 1981-2006 45 375 169 613    
  10 1996-2006 53 60 17 96    
  5 2001-2006 43 32 11 50    
CES adults 22 1984-2006 59 -36 -57 -22 >25  
  10 1996-2006 68 -37 -46 -27 >25  
  5 2001-2006 61 -11 -22 4    
CES juveniles 22 1984-2006 63 -50 -63 -33 >50  
  10 1996-2006 72 -43 -55 -32 >25  
  5 2001-2006 65 -14 -28 0    
BBS UK 11 1995-2006 1158 19 11 26    
  10 1996-2006 1195 15 8 22    
  5 2001-2006 1304 7 2 10    
BBS England 11 1995-2006 1000 17 11 23    
  10 1996-2006 1032 14 8 19    
  5 2001-2006 1120 5 1 8    
BBS Scotland 11 1995-2006 66 87 41 155    
  10 1996-2006 68 74 32 122    
  5 2001-2006 76 26 7 51    
BBS Wales 11 1995-2006 74 -22 -38 -5    
  10 1996-2006 77 -26 -39 -12 >25  
  5 2001-2006 86 -5 -17 7    

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

Table of productivity changes for Whitethroat

Variable Period
(yrs)
Years Mean
annual
sample
Trend Modelled
in first year
Modelled
in 2006
Change Comment
Clutch size 38 1968-2006 28 None       Small sample
Brood size 38 1968-2006 62 None        
Daily failure rate (eggs) 38 1968-2006 41 None        
Daily failure rate (chicks) 38 1968-2006 48 None        
Laying date 38 1968-2006 18 Curvilinear May 26 May 19 -7 days Small sample
Juvenile to Adult ratio (CES) 22 1984-2006 73 Smoothed trend 93 Index value 100 Index value 8%  
Juvenile to Adult ratio (CES) 10 1996-2006 83 Smoothed trend 133 Index value 100 Index value -25%  
Juvenile to Adult ratio (CES) 5 2001-2006 73 Smoothed trend 139 Index value 100 Index value -28%  

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

Additional information

BTO blue divider
 

BTO Home | JNCC Home
 © British Trust for Ornithology. Charity No 216652 (England and Wales).Charity No SC039193 (Scotland)
Company Limited by Guarantee No 357284 (England and Wales).
Registered Office: The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 2PU, UK.
Terms and Conditions
| Privacy Statement          Email:


This report should be cited as:
Baillie, S.R., Marchant, J.H., Leech, D.I., Joys, A.C., Noble, D.G.,
Barimore, C., Grantham, M.J., Risely, K. & Robinson, R.A. (2009).
Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2008.
BTO Research Report No. 516. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

Pages maintained by Iain Downie, Mandy T Andrews and Laura Smith: Last updated 18.02.2009