The African migration and winteringgrounds of the Aquatic WarblerAcrocephalus paludicola

Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola) Science Article 2


There is a clear need for protection of the migration and wintering grounds of the GloballyThreatened Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola, but little is known about them andthe threats they face. To narrow this gap, a desk study was performed between May 1998 andOctober 2004. Information on known wintering grounds was sought by means of questionnaires,personal communications, ringing data, publication and internet searches. Results showthat the Aquatic Warbler has so far been recorded in nine African countries, but with recentrecords since 1980 from only five countries (Egypt, Ghana, Mauritania, Morocco and Senegal).All present data suggest that the Aquatic Warbler migrates through north-west Africa inautumn and spring, with the wintering grounds limited to wetlands of western sub-SaharanAfrica, with verified records only from Mauritania, Mali, Senegal and Ghana during the monthsof August to April. The species was almost always found in habitats similar to that of its breedinggrounds, i.e. in Carex, Juncus or Phragmites (sedge, rush and reed) associations, but also indense grasses, shrubs and other vegetation found in freshwater marshes, flooded or wet meadows,and along the edges of backwaters, flood basins, lagoons, lakes, ponds, rivers and wadis.Recent research suggests that at least some Aquatic Warblers may actually winter further souththan the present data suggest, in countries such as The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, SierraLeone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin, or maybe even in so far unexploredwetlands in Central or East Africa. Because wetlands throughout Africa face imminent threatsfrom agricultural and tourist development, more fieldwork is urgently needed to furtherpinpoint the migration and wintering grounds of the Aquatic Warbler.

Norbert Schaffer, Bruno A. Walther, Kim Gutteridge and Carsten Rahbek, Bird Conservation International (2006) 16:33-56

Download article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *