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A photo of a White-throated Robin (Irania gutturalis), male
White-throated Robin, Male

White-throated Robin

Irania gutturalis

The White-throated Robin, or Irania, is a small, migratory passerine bird with a notable sexual dimorphism. The male is adorned with lead-grey upperparts, a striking black face contrasted by a white throat and supercilium, and vibrant orange underparts. The tail and strong bill are also black. The female, however, is more subdued in coloration, displaying mainly grey plumage with a black tail, subtle hints of orange on the flanks, and some white throat streaks.

Identification Tips

When identifying the White-throated Robin, look for the male's distinctive black and white face pattern and orange underparts. The female can be recognized by her greyer appearance with less pronounced orange hues. Both sexes have a black tail and a robust bill, which can be helpful distinguishing features.

Habitat

During the breeding season, the White-throated Robin favors dry rocky slopes adorned with shrubbery, often at higher altitudes. In its wintering grounds in East Africa, it can be found in closed thickets in arid regions, typically within Acacia-Commiphora woodlands on the dry central plateau.

Distribution

This species breeds from Turkey to Afghanistan in western Asia and migrates to East Africa to overwinter. It is a rare vagrant to Europe, and its presence there is often noted with great interest by birdwatchers.

Behaviour

The White-throated Robin is known for its migratory nature, traversing great distances between its breeding and wintering habitats. It is also a solitary bird, often observed foraging alone or singing from a secluded perch.

Song & Calls

The male White-throated Robin serenades with a rapid twittering song, typically performed from a bush or during flight. Its call is a distinctive "chis-it" double note, reminiscent of the pied wagtail.

Breeding

In its breeding habitat, the White-throated Robin constructs its nest within a shrub, where it lays a clutch of 4-5 eggs. The selection of dry, bush-studded slopes for nesting sites provides both shelter and a vantage point for the male's vocal displays.

Similar Species

While there are no similar species mentioned, one should take care not to confuse the White-throated Robin with other sympatric chats or flycatchers that share its habitat.

Diet and Feeding

Primarily insectivorous, the White-throated Robin's diet consists of various insects. However, it adapts its diet to include fruit during the autumn months, demonstrating a level of dietary flexibility.

Conservation status

The White-throated Robin is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List, indicating that, at present, there are no immediate threats to its population numbers on a global scale.

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