Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris)

Marsh Warbler

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Acrocephalidae | [latin] Acrocephalus palustris | [UK] Marsh Warbler | [FR] Rousserole verderolle | [DE] Sumpf-Rohrsanger | [ES] Carricero Poliglota | [NL] Bosrietzanger


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Iduna palustris
Acrocephalus palustris EU w e, se AF

Physical charateristics

Medium-sized, quite heavy, rather pear-shaped warbler, with relatively long wings. Plumage varies with wear from bright olive-green to dull grey-brown, upperparts little marked except by fairly distinct pale fore-supercilium and eye-ring and bright fringes to tertials and primary-tips. Underparts yellowish or cream, with pale fore-face and wide bright pale throat often contrasting with olive suffusion on side of breast and flank. Legs pale and bright. Sexes similar, some seasonal variation.

Listen to the sound of Marsh Warbler

[audio: Warbler.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 18 cm wingspan max.: 21 cm
size min.: 13 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 10 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


Eurasia : West


Breeds in west Palearctic mainly in cool temperate middle latitudes, continental except in Englandand northern France, and largely lowland, although breeding in Switzerland up to 1500 m.
Prefers damper and ranker sites, tufty, and fairly tall herbage, especially nettles, meadowsweet, willowherb, loose strife, wild rose and other woody or even be overshadowed by taller trees or bushes.


Breeds May-July in West and Central Europe. Nest site is built in tall, often dense vegetation, aslo low to medium scrub. Nest, cylindrical, sometimes tapering, cup of leaves and stems of dry grass and other plants, with more compact lining of finer material, plus hair and some plant down. 3-5 eggs are laid, incubation 12-14 days, by both sexes.

Feeding habits

Chiefly insects and arachnids, with some snails and rarely berries in late summer and autumn. Feeds by gleaning from vegetation in grass and shrub layer, also sometimes from lower branches of trees.
In herbaceous vegetation often perches on dead stems, rarely hovers to pick off items, and occasionally flies up vertically to take insect


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Acrocephalus palustris is a widespread summer visitor to central and eastern Europe,
which constitutes >75% of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population
is very large (>3,200,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although there
were declines in Germany during 1990-2000, other populations increased or remained
stable?including the key populations in Poland, Romania and Russia?and the
species probably remained stable overall.
Marsh Warbler status Least Concern


Locally common summer migrant of western Eurasia, from southern England, southern Sweden and southern Finland east to central and southern Russia, and south to the Alps, Italy, Greece, Black Sea, eastern Turkey and Iran. Winters in subtropical to tropical eastern and Southeast Africa. (Baker K 1997)
Summer visitor central, east and south-east Europe including isolated localities in south UK, south Scandinavia, European USSR, Transcaucasus, east Turkey; winters east and south tropical Africa. Migrant Cyprus, Near East, Egypt. Scarce migrant/vagrant UK (outside breeding areas), Eire, Iberia. Vagrant Iceland, Faroe Is., Balearic Is., Norway (outside breeding areas), Sardinia, Malta, Kuwait, north-west Africa, Madeira. (Parmenter T Byers C 1991)

Distribution map

Marsh Warbler distribution range map

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