A common whitethroat passerine, banded in Israel for tracking, has been found dead in Kuwait last week, officials said Tuesday.
The bird was branded in the Jerusalem Bird Observatory in 2021. The bird traveled more than 1,200 km (745 miles), marking the first time on record that a bird banded in Israel landed in Kuwait.
The Jerusalem Bird Observatory is part of the Society for the Protection of Nature, and is the first facility of its kind in Israel. It attracts thousands of birds and visitors throughout the year.
The Society for the Protection of Nature said the bird went from Israel to Russia, and then to Kuwait, from where it traveled to Africa. The bird then headed back north from Africa, arriving in Kuwait, where it died.
Head of the bird-banding department in the Society for the Protection of Nature, Dr. Joseph Kiat said the path expands on passerine migration paths in the Middle East.
“This could indicate the use of two different migration paths in the spring and autumn,” Dr. Kiat said. “In the spring, these birds arrive to our region after crossing the desert, due to Israel being more green and abundant, but it means a longer migration path for them.
“In autumn, however, things are different, they arrive from northern regions and fly over the desert into Africa, and can therefore use a shorter path going through the desert.”
Dr. Kiat also said that a lot of effort has to be invested in order to maintain the common whitethroat’s diminishing population in Israel and in the region as a whole. “We require a largescale cooperation effort in the region in order to keep these birds safe - from their nesting grounds in Russia, to their wintering sites in Africa, and along their migration paths in Israel and other Middle Eastern countries.
"The common whitethroat is a species which also nests in Israel, and maintaining open fields could assist its local population in surviving in Israel.”
The common whitethroat is a small passerine with a thin beak used for catching bugs and that the species thrive in open fields.
The Society for the Protection of Nature said the bird was common in central Israel prior to its urbanization and industrial farming, but has now become a rare sight.
“When they return from Africa, common whitethroat males arrive slightly before the females to claim territories, which they do with loud singing and complex flying maneuvers, climbing up to 20 or 30 meters (65 to 98 feet) before descending slowly, in order to project control and appeal to mates,” Dr. Kiat added.