Sylvia communis

Common Whitethroat / Törnsångare

Main author:
Magnus Hellström, March 2015.

Supplemented by:
Aron Edman & Simon S. Christiansen, March 2015.
Ottenby Bird Observatory. 2015. Ringers DigiGuide - Sylvia communis.

The below moult pattern applies to nominate S. c. communis
                      Adult          Young
SC*             sp
winter             wp*             wp*
Young sp: The post-juvenile moult includes most of body, LC, MC and inner GC (82% of the birds at Ottenby included 2-3 GC, but range include 0-10, although the extremes are rare). Single tertials and RR (generally R1) are occasionally included.
Young wp: The pre-breeding moult is highly variable, but is generally more extensive than the adult pre-breeding moult. No, some or all LC, MC and GC are included, often in irregular sequences. According to Jenni & Winkler (1994) only 16% of the spring birds retain some juvenile GC. Most birds include some or all tertials and alula feathers, as well as no, some or all RR. Many birds also include single or several inner SS and outer PP (and often adjacent PC) and, rarely, the moult may even be complete.
Adult SC: The post-breeding moult generally includes the whole plumage, but single or several SS are sometimes retained. 
Adult wp: The pre-breeding moult is variable, but is generally less extensive than the young pre-breeding moult. No, some or all LC and MC are included. No or some (rarely all) GC are moulted, often in irregular sequences. Most birds include some or all tertials and alula feathers, as well as no, some or all RR. Most birds also include single or several SS and occasionally also outer PP (and often adjacent PC).
Number of GC included in the post-juvenile moult shown as percentage of 1cy birds at Ottenby 2000-2013 (n=332).
[The symbol + is used for birds showing irregular moult sequence.]
[Two categories of birds were excluded: 1) Birds that had not yet conducted the moult of the GC, and 2) birds where the assessment of the moult was deemed as less certain.]


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