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. There are generally believed to be 61 members of the family. They are:

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
Aldabra Brush Warbler Nesillas aldabrana

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
Nightingale Reed Warbler Acrocephalus luscinius
Saipan Reed Warbler Acrocephalus hiwae
Aguiguan Reed Warbler Acrocephalus nijoi
Pagan Reed Warbler Acrocephalus yamashinae
Mangareva Reed Warbler Acrocephalus astrolabii
Nauru Reed Warbler Acrocephalus rehsei
Carolinian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus syrinx
Bokikokiko Acrocephalus aequinoctialis
Northern Marquesan Reed Warbler Acrocephalus percernis
Tahiti Reed Warbler Acrocephalus caffer
Moorea Reed Warbler Acrocephalus longirostris
Garrett’s Reed Warbler Acrocephalus musae
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 Iduna 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

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 61

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