• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.
Donald Talbott

Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)

Another Whitethroat.
Nature Reserve.
Watermead Country Park Leicestershire England.
Date taken
Scientific name
Sylvia communis
Equipment used
Nikon D610 Tamron 150-600mm. G2.
  • Like
Reactions: PaulCountyDurham
giving you the perfect head turn, Donald, a marvelous capture of this lovely warbler, a real beauty, love it, many tfs!!
Looks like this bird is posing for your camera. Nice lighting falling on the bird Donald
Beautiful shot of one of my favourites!

I've lived in Germany for the last 40 years and have always been fascinated by the differences between English and German bird names. Your picture illustrates a prime example of concentration on two different aspects of a species. "Whitethroat" couldn't be simpler or more apposite, whereas the German name "Dorngrasmücke" is kind of puzzling - "Dorn" means "Thorn", so that's easy enough (your photo!); "-grasmücke" however had always puzzled me, being directly translatable as "grass mosquito", which just didn't seem to be applicable in any sense.

The Germans divide their Warblers linguistically into three groups: the "Grasmücken" (Whitethroats, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and others); the "Rohrsänger" or Reed Singers, no explanation required; and (since 2006) the "Laubsänger" or Foliage Singers (Wood Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler +++). The last two groups obviously make sense, but "Grass Mosquitoes"?

So (thanks to your picture!) I finally googled the etymology, and lo and behold: nothing at all to do with mosquitoes! We go back to Middle High German, which was spoken between ca. 1050 and 1350 CE, and find out that the "mosquito" ("-mücke") part of the name comes from a completely different stem, meaning either "to cuddle up to" or "to duck away into". So in the end the direct translation would be either (approximately!) "Thorn-grasscuddler" or (excuse me) "Thorn-pisser off into the grass". :)

My favourite would definitely be the second version, after scores of failed attempts to get this candidate on camera. On the other hand, there's a hell of a lot to be said for the very obvious and descriptive "Whitethroat"!

Thanks again for the beautiful photo!
Last edited:
Staff member
Opus Editor
Such a pretty setting for this little Whitethroat Chris and a really splendid picture too.

Many thanks for letting us see it laddie.
Beautiful bird with a great head turn showing its beautiful eye nicely. Terrific perch, pose, lighting, feather detail, and background. Impressive Donald!

Media information

Britain & Europe
Added by
Donald Talbott
Date added
View count
Comment count

Image metadata

File size
208.1 KB
2250px x 1265px

Share this media