Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)


[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Acrocephalidae | [latin] Acrocephalus scirpaceus | [UK] Reed-Warbler | [FR] Rousserole effarvate | [DE] Teich-Rohrsanger | [ES] | [NL] Kleine Karakiet


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range

Physical charateristics

Medium-sized, compact, robust, and skulking but inquisitive warbler.
Plumage varies from brown olive to grey in adult and to rufous-brown in juvenil. Shows few features at any age except for rufous rump, with supercilium and eye-ring less distinct than any other Acrocephalus.
Sexes similar, no seasonal variation.

wingspan min.: 19 cm wingspan max.: 22 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 14 cm
incubation min.: 9 days incubation max.: 12 days
fledging min.: 10 days fledging max.: 12 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


Eurasia : West


Breeds in middle latitudes of west Palearctic, mainly in lowlands with continental climate. Spreads into oceanic climatic zone in western France, England and Wales.
Stands of reeds used for nesting may be quite small, often by margins of sluggish rivers, ponds, or shallow lakes, or in narrow lines along ditches. Broader reedbeds in fresh or brackish waters tend to be less favoured, especially if dense and exposed to waves.


Breeds late May mid August in western and central Europe. Nest site is built in vegetation over water, especially reed, also in other tall vegetation and low shrubs over dry ground. Nest is a deep, cylindrical cup of grass and reed stems and leaves, plus plant down and spiders’ webs, woven round plant stems, lined with finer material including hair.
3-5 eggs are laid, incubation 9-13 days, by both sexes in roughly equal proportions during day.

Feeding habits

Chiefly insects and spiders, some small snails, occasionally some plant material. An opportunist, able to tame advantage of local, variable, and short-lived sources of abundant food supply.
Feeds mostly at middle height in reeds and rushes and in centers of bushes, and occasionally on ground.


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to 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 scirpaceus is a widespread summer visitor to much of Europe, which
constitutes >50% of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is
very large (>2,700,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. The species remained
stable overall during 1990-2000, with the majority of national trends stable or
increasing?including sizeable populations in Romania and Sweden.
Reed-Warbler status Least Concern


Common and widespread summer migrant of western Palearctic, from central and southern British Isles and southern Scandinavia east across central Russia, and south to Northwest Africa, Mediterranean region, Near East, southern Russia, and western China. Winters in tropical Africa. (Baker K 1997)
A.s. scirpaceus: Summer visitor much of Europe (absent northern regions; more local in south), west, central and south European USSR, locally north-west Africa; winters tropical Africa. Migrant Libya, Chad, Mauritania. Vagrant Iceland, Faroe Is. (6), Canary Is., Madeira. A.s. fuscus: Local summer visitor Transcaucasus, Caspian shore, east Turkey, Cyprus, south-west Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, north-east Egypt; winters tropical Africa. Recorded in winter (sub-species uncertain) Turkey, Jordan, Egypt. Migrant (sub-species uncertain) Iraq, Kuwait, north Saudi Arabia. (Parmenter T Byers C 1991)

Distribution map

Reed-Warbler distribution range map

Leave a Reply

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