The Small Whitethroat, Sylvia minula, is a typical warbler. Until recently, it was considered conspecific with the Lesser Whitethroat; today these are seen as members of a superspecies. The present species together with Hume's Whitethroat seems to form an Asian lineage in the superspecies.(Helbig 2001, Jønsson & Fjeldså 2006)
This is the aridland representative of the superspecies, occurring from dry lowlands of Xinjiang westwards to Turkmenistan and possibly into Iran. Following Gloger's Rule, it is paler and more sandy in coloration and lacks the well-marked dark head sides of the Lesser Whitethroat, though the white throat is still distinctive. It is also smaller (see Bergmann's Rule) and has a conspicuously smaller bill, adapted to the different food available in its habitat.
Three subspecies are usually recognized:
- Sylvia minula munila - includes chuancheica
- Sylvia minula margelanica
- Sylvia minula jaxartica
The latter two might constitute a separate species, Margelanic Whitethroat.
In addition, the presumed Lesser Whitethroat subspecies halimodendri and telengitica might actually belong to the Small Whitethroat, or alternatively might represent hybrid intergrades between, respectively, S. m. jaxartica and S. m. margelanica and the Lesser Whitethroat (Snow et al. 1998).