Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)

Moustached Warbler

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Acrocephalidae | [latin] Acrocephalus melanopogon | [UK] Moustached Warbler | [FR] Lusciniole a moustaches | [DE] Mariskensanger | [ES] Carricerin real | [NL] Zwartkoprietzanger


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Acrocephalus melanopogon EU s
Acrocephalus melanopogon melanopogon
Acrocephalus melanopogon mimicus

Physical charateristics

Small, neat, perky warbler, sometimes looking long-legged, with plumage resembling Sedge Warbler but with head patterned even more strongly and upperpars and flanks darker.
Strong head and face pattern, with broad black crown, square-ended white supercilium, dusky eye-stripe, and dark-rimmed cheeks, reminiscent of Firecrest from side, Hindneck and rump almost concolors with mantle and tail.
Sexes similar, no seasonal variation.

Listen to the sound of Moustached Warbler

[audio: Warbler.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 15 cm wingspan max.: 17 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 13 cm
incubation min.: 14 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 15 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Eurasia : South


In west Palearctic, largely a southerly resident counterpart to the more northerly migratory Sedge Warbler in warmer temperate lower mid latitudes, and in Mediterranean and steppe zone. Unlike most congeners no confined to lowlands, ascending in Caucasus to 2000 m.


Egg laying from Mid April to mid June in South Europe. Nest site built over water, usually 30-60 cm above surface, in dense stands of reed, reedmace, rush, and low shrubs. Nest is a deep untidy cup of loosely woven leaves and stems of aquatic plants, with denser inner lining of flowers of reed and some feathers. 3-5 eggs are laid, incubation 14-15 days, by both sexes.

Feeding habits

Almost exclusively arthropods, especially small beetles, but water snails regularly taken. Food obtained by picking and probing from vegetation at or near water surface, also especially when collecting items for nestlings, from water, only to lesser extent taken in the air.


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 stable, 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 melanopogon is a widespread but patchily distributed breeder in southern
and eastern Europe, which accounts for less than half of its global breeding range.
Its European breeding population is large (>150,000 pairs), and was stable between
1970-1990. Although the trend in its Russian stronghold during 1990-2000 was
unknown, populations were stable across most of the rest of its European range?
including the sizeable one in Romania?and the species remained stable overall.
This warbler inhabits only old inundated reed beds and has a discontinuous distribution in southern Europe, north-western Africa and south-western Asia, from the Black Sea to Lake Balkash. It winters in northern Africa, reaching Chad and Sudan in the south. The population of the European Union is estimated at 25000-45000 breeding pairs, Russia not included. Most of its populations seem stable, except in Italy where some decline has been noticed
Moustached Warbler status Least Concern


Locally common resident or summer migrant of Mediterranean coastline of Spain, France, Italy and Tunisia, east through to Kazakhstan. Migratory northern populations winter in warm temperate zones within and south of breeding range. (Baker K 1997)
A.m. melanopogon: Local resident and summer visitor east Spain, Mallorca, south France, Corsica, Italy, west Switzerland, Southeast Europe, south European USSR, west Turkey, Morocco; winters Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Cyprus, Tunisia (formerly bred), Morocco. Scarce winter visitor Algeria. Vagrant UK (5; had bred), Channel Is. (1), Portugal, Gibraltar (2), Denmark, Germany (has bred), Poland (1). Local summer visitor (and resident?) south European USSR. A.m. mimica: Local resident and summer visitor east Transcaucasus, Caspian shore, east Turkey, south-west Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel (occasional); winters Middle East east to north-west Indian sub-continent. Scarce winter visitor/migrant (sub-species unknown) Iraq, Kuwait, north Saudi Arabia, Egypt. Vagrant (sub-species unknown) Libya. Tends to be more sedentary in south of range. (Parmenter T Byers C 1991)

Distribution map

Moustached Warbler distribution range map

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