Whitethroats are medium-sized warblers, and are known by their Latinate name, Sylvia communis i.e. Communis is Latin for “Common”, separate from the Lesser whitethroat, which has subtle yet different features (see the comparison below to see the difference between Common and Lesser varieties).
You’ll find the Common whitethroat features a distinct and lengthy tail, which is flicked quickly. Its head is grey, the throat is white, and there is a uniform brown back with buff underparts. It is a very lively bird that is renowned for its “scratchy” and jolty song, which can be heard from the tops of hedgerows, a favoured place. They are also known for their curiosity, which is evident by their boldness to investigate disturbances in near surroundings. If there is a threatening intruder, the Whitethroat will usually try to fend it off with an aggressive, rapid churring call. Because the bird appears in a number of areas around the world, it has been given a number of names, including “nettle creeper”, “beardie” and “hay jack”.
You wouldn’t normally discover a Whitethroat in your garden, as they prefer the open country. Yet saying this, there have been reports of Whitethroats entering garden spaces, so there’s every chance you might observe one at some point.