Lesser Whitethroat – 1994

Sylvia curruca – LLWYDFRON FACH – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in January, February and December

Breeding confirmed15
Breeding probable46
Breeding possible8
No of tetrads occupied69 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads14.4%

Although Mathew (1894) did not encounter the bird, he does include it on the strength of records at Lamphey and Dale, though Lockley et al (1949) considered these records to be dubious, noting only a few scattered occurrences, which included breeding near Llangwm in 1932, stating that the Lesser Whitethroat was a scarce migrant. Lloyd found them in each of the years from 1927 to 1931, and strongly suspected breeding at Bosherston and Tenby. They were recorded with increasing frequency from 1952 onwards, breeding being suspected at Keeston in 1965 and proved at Roch Bridge in 1974. A few pairs were reported breeding at three localities in 1977 and 1981. The Breeding Birds Survey of 1984-1988 was conducted at a time when Lesser Whitethroats became strong colonists. About 70 pairs were found during the period (see map), 60% of which were in the confirmed breeding or probably breeding categories. They are found in scrubby areas, sometimes nesting in the same place for a year or two before disappearing.

Lesser Whitethroats have also become more frequent spring migrants, with birds passing through coastal districts usually between 15 April and 5 June. One was at Upper Ripperston on 25 March 1990 and another at Dale on 26 March 1984. They remain sparse on autumn passage, with just a few occurring between 12 August and 31 October, with one at Skokholm on 3 November 1927.

Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H, 1994, Birds of Pembrokeshire

More about the Lesser Whitethroat in Pembrokeshire