Desert Whitethroat

Desert Whitethroat  Sylvia currucaminula


  • Sylvia : Latin word for “woodland sprite, little bird, warbler “
  • Curruca : Swedish name krukafor Sylvia curruca
  • Minula : Latin word for “ very small” 

Distribution in India: Passage migrant and winter visitor in North West India.

Description: Size of 12 cm; 8–13 g. It is a small warbler with short bill and short primary projection. The nominate race has pale grey or buff-grey crown, very short and indistinct whitish supercilium above eye. The lores and ear-coverts are grey, at best only slightly darker than crown. The upperparts are yellowish sandy; tail is pale grey-brown, extensive white on outermost rectrix; chin and throat are pure white, underparts are ­whitish, extensively suffused with pale yellowish-buff; iris is cream, yellow or pale yellow-brown to dark grey or dark brown; bill and legs are grey. Both the sexes are similar. The juvenile is rather pale above, with browner ear-coverts, darker grey on crown and more buff to rufous on mantle; iris is darker than adult’s.

Habitat: It is found in deserts and steppes with thorn-scrub in arid and semi-arid habitats; sometimes sand-dune desert with bushes or near water in oases. .In non-breeding season it occupies similar habitats.

Food habits: It eats insects, including ants and aphids and Nectar. It visits flowers of Acacia arabica or Dalbergia sissoo, both for nectar and for insects. In desert it is very often seen to forage by running or hopping on ground and looking for prey.

Breeding habits:  They breed in Jan- May in Central Asia, from the Caspian Sea and Iran to southern Mongolia and northwest China. They are territorial during the breeding season, and monogamous. Thee male builds the nest, after first constructing simple ‘display nests’ as part of courtship. The nest used for breeding is deeper and more robust, built above ground in low scrub and constructed from grass stems, twigs and leaves, and lined with grasses, fibres, spider webs and feathers. They lay a clutch of 2-6 eggs. The eggs areincubated by both the male and female. The incubation period is 11–12 days. The chicks arefed by both parents. The nestling period is 12–13 days