Eurasian reed warbler

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Eurasian reed warbler
Acrocephalus scirpaceus Vlaskop cropped.jpg
Song recorded in Surrey, England
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Acrocephalidae
Genus: Acrocephalus
A. scirpaceus
Binomial name
Acrocephalus scirpaceus
(Hermann, 1804)
  • A. s. scirpaceus - (Hermann, 1804)
  • A. s. fuscus - (Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1833)
  • A. s. avicenniae - Ash, Pearson, DJ, Nikolaus & Colston, 1989
  • A. s. ammon - Hering, Winkler & Steinheimer, 2016
Distribution of the eurasian reed warbler:

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


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". The specific scirpaceus is from Latin and means "reed".[3]

An older scientific name for the reed warbler was Acrocephalus streperus (Vieill.).[4]

Habitat and population density[edit]

This small passerine bird is a species found almost exclusively in reed beds, usually with some bushes. Direct counts of territorial males in suitable habitat and sampling the population sex-ratio can be a proper alternative to inference-rich predictive modeling based on imperfect habitat-extrapolation of densities of reed warblers at large spatial scales.[5]

Population densities of Eurasian reed warblers (mean±SD) in Europe
Country Method Pairs/ha Birds/ha Nests/ha Ref.
UK Nest - - 17.9±10.4 [6]
Spain Census point - 3.9 - [7]
Spain Transect - 7.8 - [5]
Slovakia Nest - - 29.1±31.1 [8]
Spain Nest 12.6±11.3 - - [9]
Romania Nest 21.0±26.9 - - [9]
Romania Nest - - 21.0±26.9 [9]
France Nest - - 40.0 [9]
Romania Nest - - 21.0±26.9 [9]
France Nest - - 40.0 [9]
Czech Republic Nest - - 63. [9]
Germany Nest - - 44.0±15.6 [9]
Poland Nest - - 57.0 [9]
Lithuania Nest - - 5.0 [9]
Denmark Nest - - 25.0 [9]
Norway Nest - - 8.0 [9]


This is a medium-sized warbler, 12.5–14 cm in length. The adult has an unstreaked brown back and buff underparts. The forehead is flattened, and the bill is strong and pointed. The sexes are identical, as with most warblers, but young birds are richer buff below. The Eurasian reed warbler looks similar to the great reed warbler, but the great reed warbler is larger in size and has a stronger supercilium.


The song is a slow, chattering jit-jit-jit with typically acrocephaline whistles and mimicry added.

Song Diaccia Botrona Marsh, Italy


Like most warblers, it is insectivorous, but will take other small food items, including berries.


The 3–5 eggs are laid in a basket nest in reeds. The chicks fledge after 10 or 11 days. This species is usually monogamous.[10] The Eurasian reed warbler is one of the species that are brood parasitised by the common cuckoo.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2019) [amended version of 2017 assessment]. "Acrocephalus scirpaceus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019: e.T22714722A155436305. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  2. ^ Gill F, D Donsker & P Rasmussen (Eds). 2020. IOC World Bird List (v10.2). doi : 10.14344/IOC.ML.10.2.
  3. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 30, 350. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  4. ^ For instance in Naumann, Johann Friedrich (1897). Naturgeschichte der Vögel Mitteleuropas. 2. OCLC 603365339 (all editions).; see also: 12 px Commons logo image on Wikimedia Commons.
  5. ^ a b Frias, O.; Bautista, L. M.; Dénes, F. V.; Cuevas, J. A.; Martínez, F.; Blanco, G. (2018). "Influence of habitat suitability and sex-related detectability on density and population size estimates of habitat-specialist warblers" (PDF). PLOS ONE. 13 (7): 020148. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0201482. PMC 6066240. PMID 30059562.
  6. ^ Bibby, C. J.; Thomas, D. K. (1985). "Breeding and diets of the reed warbler at a rich and a poor site". Bird Study. 32: 19–31. doi:10.1080/00063658509476851.
  7. ^ Parcuellos, M. (1997). "Comparative analysis between the passerine communities of great reed beds (Arundo donax) and reed beds (Phragmites australis) in southeastern Iberia". Ardeola. 44: 105–108.
  8. ^ Prokešová, J.; Kocian, L. (2004). "Habitat selection of two Acrocephalus warblers breeding in reed beds near Malacky (Western Slovakia)" (PDF). Biologia Bratislava. 59: 637–644.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Stokke, B. G.; Hafstad, I.; Rudolfsen, G.; Bargain, B.; Beier, J.; Campas, D. B.; Dyrcz, A.; Honza, M.; Leisler, B.; Pap, P. L.; Patapavicius, R.; Prochazka, P.; Schulze-Hagen, K.; Thomas, R.; Moksness, A.; Møller, A. P.; Roskaft, E.; Soler, M. (2007). "Host density predicts presence of cuckoo parasitism in reed warblers". Oikos. 116 (6): 913–922. doi:10.1111/j.2007.0030-1299.15832.x.
  10. ^ Leisler, B. & Wink, Michael (2000): Frequencies of multiple paternity in three Acrocephalus species (Aves: Sylviidae) with different mating systems (A. palustris, A. arundinaceus, A. paludicola). Ethology, Ecology & Evolution 12: 237–249. PDF fulltext

External links[edit]


  • Kishkinev, D., Chernetsov, N., Pakhomov, A., Heyers, D., and Mouritsen, H. (2015). Eurasian reed warblers compensate for virtual magnetic displacement. Curr. Biol. 25, R822–R824