285 Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica )


13-14cm. Bluethroat is a rather small and slim bird with long thin legs, in all plumages told by obvious whitish supercilium and rusty-red patch on sides of tail-base (often seen in flight, or when perched bird flicks tail up). Male: Bright blue bib, bordered below by a narrow black and white band and a broader rusty-red one. Inlaid in centre of the blue, birds in chiefly Northern Europe (ssp. svecica) have a rusty throat patch, those in rest of Europe, East Turkey and Caucasus (incl. cyanecula, magna) a small white patch or none at all. In autumn, some of the bright throat colours are replaced by yellowish-white areas. Female: Variable throat markings; usually just an arc of black spots on creamy-white ground, older birds occasionally with some blue, plus black and rusty border across breast (those with most blue can look quite a-like).


In Hungary ssp. svecica is a very rare vagrant, only one accepted record. Ssp. cyanecula is a sporadic breeder in small numbers of marshy and reed-grown meadows interspersed with bushes, on the shore of reed-beds as well as near fishponds and canals. Its Hungarian population concentrates predominantly on Lake Fertő, Hanság, Kis-Balaton, Lake Velence and Lake Tisza, as well as in the environs of fishponds and remnant paddy fields of the Mezőföld and the Great Plain. In recent years its population has increased in certain areas, such as the Hortobágy, where it has become a far more common breeder than elsewhere in the country. Migrant. Arrives during spring in early April and autumn migration takes place in September.

285 Bluethroat pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008