The Bluethroat, known as ”the nightingale of Lapland”, breeds in Eurasia. In Finland, it nests only in the wet fell birch areas and by the brooks in northernmost parts of Forest Lapland and Fell Lapland. The species has several subspecies, four of which breed in Europe. The Bluethroats of Scandinavia overwinter far away, at up to 5 000 kilometres in South-East Asia. The fluctuations in populations are big: it is estimated that 30 000 – 80 000 pairs of Bluethroat breed in Finland annually. The species has declined significantly in the past few years, and global warming is one possible explanation for the decline. Unlike some talented singers, Bluethroat is a colourful and easily identifiable species.
The folkloric names for Bluethroat refer to its virtuosity as a singer. In Kilpisjärvi, Bluethroat was discovered to imitate almost 50 different bird species. Its repertory includes also several mechanical sounding sounds such as the ticking of a clock. Long ago in the Sámi homeland, it was believed that the Bluethroat was carrying a bell, and that is why it was called “bell bird”. The Bluethroat is the provincial bird of Lapland. Based on ringing data, the species is faithful to its breeding place and to its resting points during migration. Bluethroat is insectivore, and it will not arrive in Lapland until late May.
Text: Jukka Jokimäki & Marja-Liisa Kaisanlahti-Jokimäki
Read more about Bluethroat:
Flying Arctic -frontpage.