Acrocephalidae – Reed & Bush Warblers & Allies

Clamorous Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus ©Dr Raju Kasambe (Creative Commons) Website

The Acrocephalus warblers are small, insectivorous passerine birds belonging to the genus Acrocephalus. Formerly in the paraphyletic Old World warbler assemblage, they are now separated as the namesake of the marsh and tree warbler family Acrocephalidae. They are sometimes called marsh warblers or reed warblers, but this invites confusion with Marsh Warbler and Reed Warbler proper, especially in North America, where it is common to use lower case for bird species.

They are rather drab brownish warblers usually associated with marshes or other wetlands. Some are streaked, others plain. Many species are migratory. Many species have a flat head profile, which gives rise to the group’s scientific name. Species breeding in temperate regions are strongly migratory.

The most enigmatic species of the genus, the Large-billed Reed Warbler (A. orinus), was rediscovered in Thailand in March, 2006; it was found also in a remote corner of Afghanistan in the summer of 2009. Prior to these recent sightings, it had been found only once before, in 1867.

The genus name Acrocephalus is from Ancient Greek akros, ‘highest’, and kephale, ‘head’. It is possible that Naumann and Naumann thought akros meant ‘sharp-pointed’.

Following DND analysis, the family of ‘Reed Warblers & allies’ was separated from the ‘super family’ of Old World Warblers and named Acrocephalidae.

Species List

There are generally believed to be 55 members of the family. They are:

Grauer’s Warbler Graueria vittata

Malagasy Brush Warbler Nesillas typica
Subdesert Brush Warbler Nesillas lantzii
Anjouan Brush Warbler Nesillas longicaudata
Grand Comoro Brush Warbler Nesillas brevicaudata
Moheli Brush Warbler Nesillas mariae

Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis
Cape Verde Warbler Acrocephalus brevipennis
Greater Swamp Warbler Acrocephalus rufescens
Lesser Swamp Warbler Acrocephalus gracilirostris
Madagascan Swamp Warbler Acrocephalus newtoni
Seychelles Warbler Acrocephalus sechellensis
Rodrigues Warbler Acrocephalus rodericanus
Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis
Clamorous Reed Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus
Australian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus australis
Millerbird Acrocephalus familiaris
Saipan Reed Warbler Acrocephalus hiwae
Nauru Reed Warbler Acrocephalus rehsei
Carolinian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus syrinx
Bokikokiko Acrocephalus aequinoctialis
Northern Marquesan Reed Warbler Acrocephalus percernis
Tahiti Reed Warbler Acrocephalus caffer
Southern Marquesan Reed Warbler Acrocephalus mendanae
Tuamotu Reed Warbler Acrocephalus atyphus
Cook Reed Warbler Acrocephalus kerearako
Rimatara Reed Warbler Acrocephalus rimitarae
Henderson Reed Warbler Acrocephalus taiti
Pitcairn Reed Warbler Acrocephalus vaughani
Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps
Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon
Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Speckled Reed Warbler Acrocephalus sorghophilus
Blunt-winged Warbler Acrocephalus concinens
Manchurian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus tangorum
Large-billed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orinus
Paddyfield Warbler Acrocephalus agricola
Blyth’s Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum
Eurasian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
African Reed Warbler Acrocephalus baeticatus
Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris

Thick-billed Warbler Arundinax aedon

African Yellow Warbler Iduna natalensis
Mountain Yellow Warbler Iduna similis
Booted Warbler Iduna caligata
Sykes’s Warbler Iduna rama
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida
Western Olivaceous Warbler Iduna opaca

Papyrus Yellow Warbler Calamonastides gracilirostris

Upcher’s Warbler Hippolais languida
Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum
Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta
Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina

Species Links
  • African Yellow Warbler Chloropeta natalensis

    IBC Species Account
    Brief species account…
  • African Yellow Warbler Chloropeta natalensis

    BirdLife Species Account
  • African Yellow Warbler Chloropeta natalensis

    HBW Species Account
    Taxonomy: Chloropeta natalensis A. Smith, 1847, near Port Natal (= Durban), South Africa.
  • African Yellow Warbler Chloropeta natalensis

    IUCN Species Status
    The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as locally common in parts of its range (del Hoyo et al. 2006).
  • African Yellow Warbler Chloropeta natalensis

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • African Yellow Warbler Chloropeta natalensis

    Species Account
    The African yellow warbler, Natal yellow warbler, dark-capped yellow warbler, or yellow flycatcher-warbler (Iduna natalensis) is a species of Acrocephalidae warblers; formerly, these were placed in the paraphyletic "Old World warblers".
  • Arctic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Arctic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Arctic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Arctic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola

    Species Account
    The Arctic warbler (Phylloscopus borealis) is a widespread leaf warbler in birch or mixed birch forest near water throughout its breeding range in Fennoscandia and northern Asia. It has established a foothold in North America, breeding in Alaska. This warbler is strongly migratory; the entire population winters in southeast Asia. It therefore has one of the longest migrations of any Old World insectivorous bird.
  • Arctic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola

    Cornell Species Account
    The Arctic Warbler is the only member of the large group of drab Old World warblers that has established a foothold in North America. It breeds in the subarctic forests across Eurasia and into western and central Alaska.
  • Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps

    HBW Species Account
    Taxonomy: Acrocephalus bistrigiceps Swinhoe, 1860, Xiamen (Amoy), Fujian, China.
  • Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps

    Species Account
    The black-browed reed warbler (Acrocephalus bistrigiceps) is a species of marsh-warbler (family Acrocephalidae). It was formerly included in the "Old World warbler" assemblage. It is found in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • Clamorous Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus

    Species Account
    The clamorous reed warbler (Acrocephalus stentoreus) is an Old World warbler in the genus Acrocephalus. It breeds from Egypt eastwards through Pakistan, Afghanistan and northernmost India to south China, southeast Asia and south to Australia. A. s. meridionalis is an endemic race in Sri Lanka.
  • Clamorous Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Clamorous Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Clamorous Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus

    HBW Species Account
  • Eurasian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus

    BirdLife Species Account
  • Eurasian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus

    HBW Species Account
    Taxonomy: Turdus scirpaceus Hermann, 1804, Alsace, France.
  • Eurasian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus

    IUCN Species Status
    This species breeds mainly in mature beds of reed (Phragmites) on the shores of lakes and fish ponds, and along rivers and ditches and locally, breeds in willow bushes in marshland, in reeds on edges of brackish lakes, exceptionally in corn fields.
  • Eurasian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Eurasian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus

    Species Account
    The Eurasian reed warbler, or just reed warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) is an Old World warbler in the genus Acrocephalus. It breeds across Europe into temperate western Asia. It is migratory, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Eurasian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus

    RSPB Species Account
    The reed warbler is a plain unstreaked warbler. It is warm brown above and buff coloured underneath.
  • Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus

    Species Account
    The great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) is a Eurasian passerine in the genus Acrocephalus.
  • Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus

    HBW Species Account
    Taxonomy: Turdus arundinaceus Linnaeus, 1758, Gdañsk, Poland.
  • Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina

    BirdLife Species Account
    Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion…
  • Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina

    Species Account
    The icterine warbler (Hippolais icterina) is an Old World warbler in the tree warbler genus Hippolais. It breeds in mainland Europe except the southwest, where it is replaced by its western counterpart, melodious warbler. It is migratory, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

    RSPB Species Account
    The sedge warbler is a small, quite plump, warbler with a striking broad creamy stripe above its eye, and greyish brown legs. It is brown above with blackish streaks and creamy white underneath…
  • Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

    Species Account
    The sedge warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) is an Old World warbler in the genus Acrocephalus. It is a medium-sized warbler with a brown, streaked back and wings and a distinct pale supercilium. Sedge warblers are migratory, crossing the Sahara to get from their European and Asian breeding grounds to spend winter in Africa.
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 61

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND