Acrocephalidae

The Acrocephalidae (the reed warblers, marsh- and tree-warblers, or acrocephalid warblers) are a family of oscine passerine birds, in the superfamily Sylvioidea.

The species in this family are usually rather large "warblers". Most are rather plain olivaceous brown above with much yellow to beige below. They are usually found in open woodland, reedbeds, or tall grass. The family occurs mostly in southern to western Eurasia and surroundings, but also ranges far into the Pacific, with some species in Africa.

Acrocephalidae
Carricero tordal
Great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Superfamily: Sylvioidea
Family: Acrocephalidae
Salvin, 1882
Genera

Acrocephalus
Chloropeta
Hippolais
Iduna
Calamonastides
Nesillas

Genus Acrocephalus

Marsh-warblers. About 35 species; para- or polyphyletic.

Genus Arundinax

Genus Iduna

Genus Hippolais

Genus Calamonastides

Genus Nesillas

Brush warblers. 5 living species, 1 recently extinct.

References

  • del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A. & Christie D. (editors). (2006). Handbook of the Birds of the World Volume 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 84-96553-06-X.
Acrocephalus (bird)

The Acrocephalus warblers are small, insectivorous passerine birds belonging to the genus Acrocephalus. Formerly in the paraphyletic Old World warbler assemblage, they are now separated as the namesake of the marsh and tree warbler family Acrocephalidae. They are sometimes called marsh warblers or reed warblers, but this invites confusion with marsh warbler and reed warbler proper, especially in North America, where it is common to use lower case for bird species.

These are rather drab brownish warblers usually associated with marshes or other wetlands. Some are streaked, others plain. Many species breeding in temperate regions are migratory.

This genus has heavily diversified into many species throughout islands across the tropical Pacific. This in turn has led to many of the resulting insular endemic species to become endangered. Several of these species (including all but one of the species endemic to the Marianas and two endemic to French Polynesia) have already gone extinct.

The most enigmatic species of the genus, the large-billed reed warbler (A. orinus), was rediscovered in Thailand in March, 2006; it was found also in a remote corner of Afghanistan in the summer of 2009. Prior to these recent sightings, it had been found only once before, in 1867.

Many species have a flat head profile, which gives rise to the group's scientific name. 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".

Black-browed reed warbler

The black-browed reed warbler (Acrocephalus bistrigiceps) is a species of marsh-warbler (family Acrocephalidae). It was formerly included in the "Old World warbler" assemblage.

It is found from eastern Mongolia and south-eastern Russia to eastern China and Japan.The black-browed reed warbler is similar and closely related to the more common and widespread Eurasian reed warbler. The bird spends its time foraging close to the ground inside undisturbed reed beds. Like many other wetland birds, it is of conservation concern owing to habitat loss-destruction of native marsh vegetation and its replacement by rice paddies and fishponds.

Blunt-winged warbler

The blunt-winged warbler (Acrocephalus concinens) is a species of marsh-warbler (family Acrocephalidae). It was formerly included in the "Old World warbler" assemblage.

It is found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northeast India and China; it winters in Myanmar, Thailand and Bangladesh.

Bokikokiko

The bokikokiko, Kiritimati reed warbler or Christmas Island warbler (Acrocephalus aequinoctialis) is a species of warbler in the family Acrocephalidae. It is found only on Kiritimati (Kiribati).

Booted warbler

The booted warbler (Iduna caligata) is an Old World warbler in the tree warbler group. It was formerly considered to be conspecific with Sykes's warbler, but the two are now usually both afforded species status. Booted warbler itself breeds from central Russia to western China, and migrates to winter in the Indian subcontinent as far south as Sri Lanka. Booted warbler has expanded its breeding range westward in recent decades and nests now as far west and north as Finland.

It is a small passerine bird, found in open country with bushes and other tall vegetation. 3-4 eggs are laid in a nest in a bush or vegetation. Like most warblers they are insectivorous.

These are small warblers, especially compared to others in their genus. They are pale brown (weak tea colour) above and whitish below with buff flanks. The outer tail feathers have pale edges. They have a short pale supercilium, and the bill is strong and pointed. Sykes's is larger and greyer than booted, and most resembles an eastern olivaceous warbler.

Keyserling and Blasius gave no explanation of the genus name Iduna. The specific caligata is Latin for "booted" from caliga, "boot".

Carolinian reed warbler

The Carolinian reed warbler or Caroline Islands reed warbler (Acrocephalus syrinx) is a species of Old World warbler in the Acrocephalidae family. It is found only on the Caroline Islands in Micronesia.

Clamorous reed warbler

The clamorous reed warbler (Acrocephalus stentoreus) is an Old World warbler in the genus Acrocephalus. It breeds from Egypt eastwards through Pakistan, Afghanistan and northernmost India to south China, southeast Asia and south to Australia. A. s. meridionalis is an endemic race in Sri Lanka.

Greater swamp warbler

The greater swamp warbler (Acrocephalus rufescens) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Acrocephalidae.

It is found in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Its natural habitat is swamps.

Madagascan swamp warbler

The Madagascan swamp warbler (Acrocephalus newtoni) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Acrocephalidae.

It is found only in Madagascar.

Its natural habitat is swamps.

Manchurian reed warbler

The Manchurian reed warbler (Acrocephalus tangorum), also known as the Manchurian reed-warbler, is a species of marsh-warbler (family Acrocephalidae). It was formerly included in the "Old World warbler" assemblage, and was usually (and sometimes is still) treated as a subspecies of the paddyfield warbler (A. agricola). It is found in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Laos, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and possibly Myanmar. Its natural habitat is swamps. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Old World warbler

Old World warblers are a large group of birds formerly grouped together in the bird family Sylviidae. The family held over 400 species in over 70 genera, and were the source of much taxonomic confusion. Two families were split out initially, the cisticolas into Cisticolidae and the kinglets into Regulidae. In the past ten years they have been the subject of much research and many species are now placed into other families, including the Acrocephalidae, Cettiidae, Phylloscopidae, and Megaluridae. In addition some species have been moved into existing families or have not yet had their placement fully resolved. A smaller family of warblers, together with some babblers formerly placed in the family Timaliidae and the parrotbills, are retained in a much smaller family Sylviidae.

Papyrus yellow warbler

The papyrus yellow warbler, papyrus flycatcher-warbler or thin-billed flycatcher-warbler, (Calamonastides gracilirostris) is a species of tree warbler; formerly, these were placed in the paraphyletic "Old World warblers". It is monotypic in its genus.

It is found in Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Its natural habitat is swamps.

It is threatened by habitat loss.

Pitcairn reed warbler

The Pitcairn reed warbler (Acrocephalus vaughani) is a songbird in the genus Acrocephalus. Formerly placed in the "Old World warbler" assemblage (Sylviidae), it is now in the newly recognized marsh-warbler family Acrocephalidae.

It is endemic to Pitcairn Island in the southern Pacific. Locally known as the "sparrow" (true sparrows are not found on Pitcairn), it used to be common throughout the island, where it is the only land bird. It was formerly classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN due to its small range. But new research has shown it to be rarer than it was believed. Consequently, it was uplisted to endangered status in 2008.

Rimatara reed warbler

The Rimatara reed warbler (Acrocephalus rimitarae ) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Acrocephalidae.

It is found only in Rimatara in French Polynesia.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and swamps. Due to continuous pressure from the Rimatara Airport, introduced mynas, and feral cats, this bird is classified as critically endangered.

Speckled reed warbler

The speckled reed warbler or streaked reed warbler (Acrocephalus sorghophilus) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Acrocephalidae.

It is found in China and the Philippines.

Its natural habitats are swamps and arable land.

It is threatened by habitat loss, particularly wetland loss in its wintering area.

Sykes's warbler

Sykes's warbler (Iduna rama) is an Old World warbler in the tree warbler family. It was formerly considered a subspecies of the booted warbler, but is now considered a full species. Its breeding range is from northeast Arabia to Afghanistan. Like the booted warbler, many populations of the species migrate in winter to the Indian subcontinent as far south as Sri Lanka.

Tahiti reed warbler

The Tahiti reed warbler (Acrocephalus caffer) is a songbird in the genus Acrocephalus. It used to be placed in the "Old World warbler" assemblage (Sylviidae), but is now in the newly recognized marsh warbler family Acrocephalidae. It is endemic to the island of Tahiti.

Most taxonomists regard Garrett's reed warbler and the Moorea reed warbler as distinct. They used to be considered subspecies.

As a whole, the Tahiti reed warbler was classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN. But new research has shown it to be rarer than it was believed. Consequently, it was uplisted to endangered status in 2008.

Thick-billed warbler

The thick-billed warbler (Arundinax aedon) breeds in temperate east Asia. It is migratory, wintering in tropical South Asia and South-east Asia. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.

This passerine bird is a species found in dense vegetation such as reeds, bushes and thick undergrowth. 5-6 eggs are laid in a nest in a low tree.

This is a large warbler, at 16–17.5 centimetres (6.3–6.9 in) long nearly as big as great reed warbler. The adult has an unstreaked brown back and buff underparts, with few obvious distinctive plumage features. The forehead is rounded, and the bill is short and pointed. The sexes are identical, as with most warblers, but young birds are richer buff below. Like most warblers, it is insectivorous, but will take other small prey items.

The song is fast and loud, and similar to marsh warbler, with much mimicry and typically acrocephaline whistles added.

It was sometimes placed in the monotypic genus Phragmaticola (or Phragamaticola) and for a long time as Acrocephalus and in 2009 suggested as being within the Iduna clade but a 2014 phylogeny study based on more loci suggested that it did not fit into the Iduna clade suggesting a resurrection of the genus Phragamaticola or Arundinax, the oldest available genus name which has priority.Keyserling and Blasius gave no explanation of the genus name Iduna. The specific aedon is from Latin aëdon or Ancient Greek aedon and means nightingale. In Greek mythology Aëdon was changed into a nightingale after killing her own son while attempting to murder one of the sons of her sister Niobe.

Upcher's warbler

The Upcher's warbler (Hippolais languida) is an Old World warbler in the tree warbler genus Hippolais. It breeds in an area from Turkey south and east to Pakistan. It is migratory, wintering in eastern Africa, from Eritrea and Somalia south to Tanzania.

This small passerine bird is a species found in semi-desert habitats, frequenting bushy scrub and thickets of tamarisk. 4-5 eggs are laid in a nest in bushes and low trees.

This is a medium-sized warbler, similar in size to the icterine warbler, with a slightly longer bill and shorter wings and a longer tail. Its frequent tail movement is reminiscent of a Sylvia warbler or a chat. Its rather grey plumage is similar to the olivaceous warbler, but tail movements are diagnostic.

It feeds on invertebrates. Its song is similar to that of other Hippolais warblers, but distinctive and unmistakable, and entirely different from that of the olivaceous warbler.

Ehrenberg's original description of this bird was 'rather vague' and it was redescribed by Henry Baker Tristram in 1864, naming it Hippolais upcheri after his friend Henry Morris Upcher. This is the origin of the bird's common name.

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