Bluethroats – Different Patches for Different Patches

2012_01_17 LN - Bluethroat - female (Luscinia svecica) 03
Bluethroat female (Luscinia svecica cyanecula)

The Bluethroat has been a species that for some reason this year has been more visible than other years. It was rare I saw them before and then this winter…it’s a regular parade of them. Now there really shouldn’t be any reason to discuss the etymology of its name for obvious reasons but lets talk about that blue throat all the same.
This next shot is a female and could possibly be a first winter female.

2011_10_06 PIC - Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica) 04
Bluethroat 1st winter female or female (Luscinia svecica cyanecula)

Notice how it does not have any blue on its throat. However some females may have some blue but it does not go all the way up the chin to the beak as in the next photograph.

2012_01_17 LN - Bluethroat - female (Luscinia svecica) 04
Bluethroat female (Luscinia svecica cyanecula)

Finally let’s look at the male. Notice how the blue extends all the way to the base of the bill.

2012_02_08 PO - Bluethroat (Luscinia  svecica) 05
Bluethroat male (Luscinia svecica cyanecula)

In various parts of Europe the bib is also somewhat different. In Northern Europe there is the nominate species Luscinia svecica svecica and this has a rusty throat patch instead of the white. Here in Spain and Southern and Central Europe we have the Luscinia svecica cyanecula. This is the one with the white throat patch so obvious in these photos. And then there is Luscinia svecica magna of the Caucasus which has a small white patch or no patch at all. In any case, whether you are here in Spain, Germany or somewhere near Turkey or Georgia you can’t miss the Bluethroat in its distinctive plumage, regardless of it throat patch colour. Look for them here around Ciudad Real near reeds with muddy, swampy edges to the water.
Go birding in La Mancha, Spain and see Bluethroats with Oretani Wildlife.
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