Originally thought to be a 'normal' 1st winter curruca Lesser Whitethroat, Brian Stone and I were both struck how brown the bird appeared whilst watching it. But it wasn't until Rich Billington emailed to suggest it might be of the race halimodendri that we started to seriously consider its racial ID. After referring to pics on the web and finally referencing to Sylvia Warblers (Shirihai et al), the bird does indeed appear 'too brown and warm' for nominate curruca. The head has a brown hue to it (rather than a colder greyer tone expected for curruca), and the ear coverts, nape and mantle are brown and warm toned. The outer tail feather also looks too clean for curruca.
The Lesser Whitethroat group is very complex and without trapping it and undertaking DNA sampling we are very unlikely to racially ID this bird with any certainty, beyond saying that it might not/is not curruca.
Photos by Brian Stone 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo-Televid 77
© Steve Dudley 24 November 2003