3 Apr 2014

3 April 14 - Photospot1: The Lesser Whitethroat Complex

Several times since I started birding, the Lesser Whitethroat complex have changed from being subspecies of Lesser Whitethroat to being split into multiple species. The latest Clements taxonomy has split off Hume's Lesser Whitethroat & Desert Lesser Whitethroat from Lesser Whitethroat. On my Indian trip, I was lucky enough to be able to see all 3 Indian species & photograph them. Here are the photos.
Lesser Whitethroat: CEDO, Gujarat (19 Jan 14). Note, the noticeable face patch & browner wings
Desert Lesser Whitethroat: Desert Coursers, Gujarat (16 Jan 14). This bird is paler grey than UK Lesser Whitethroats & doesn't have the same contrasting face patch
Desert Lesser Whitethroat: Desert Coursers, Gujarat (16 Jan 14). The slightly darker tail is another separating feature from Lesser Whitethroat
Desert Lesser Whitethroat: Desert Coursers, Gujarat (16 Jan 14)
Desert Lesser Whitethroat: Tal Chappar, Rajasthan (25 Jan 14)
Hume's Lesser Whitethroat: Jungle Hut (29 Dec 13). Perhaps the easiest of the three to identify on wintering grounds as it's the only one which winters in the Western Ghats
Here is a Lesser Whitethroat photographed in my garden in Dorset in November (which is a really late record for the UK). It's possible it could be one of the Eastern subspecies of Lesser Whitethroat, but also possible it's a very late departing nominate curruca subspecies. Frustratingly, I didn't see it again.
Lesser Whitethroat: Dorset (10 Nov 13)
Lesser Whitethroat: Dorset (10 Nov 13)

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