Locustellidae is a newly recognized family of small insectivorous songbirds ("warblers"), formerly placed in the Old World warbler "wastebin" family. It contains the grass warblers, grassbirds, and the Bradypterus "bush warblers". These birds occur mainly in Eurasia, Africa, and the Australian region. The family name is sometimes given as Megaluridae, but Locustellidae has priority.
The species are smallish birds with tails that are usually long and pointed; the scientific name of the genus Megalurus in fact means "the large-tailed one" in plain English. They are less wren-like than the typical shrub-warblers (Cettia) but like these drab brownish or buffy all over. They tend to be larger and slimmer than Cettia though, and many have bold dark streaks on wings and/or underside. Most live in scrubland and frequently hunt food by clambering through thick tangled growth or pursuing it on the ground; they are perhaps the most terrestrial of the "warblers". Very unusual for Passeriformes, beginning evolution towards flightlessness is seen in some taxa.
Among the "warbler and babbler" superfamily Sylvioidea, the Locustellidae are closest to the Malagasy warblers, another newly recognized (and hitherto unnamed) family; the black-capped donacobius (Donacobius atricapillus) is an American relative derived from the same ancestral stock and not a wren as was long believed.
|Striated grassbird (Megalurus palustris)|
Megaluridae (Blyth, 1875)
The family contains 68 species divided into 11 genera.
The brown bush warbler (Locustella luteoventris) is a songbird species. Formerly placed in the "Old World warbler" assemblage, it is now placed in the newly recognized family Locustellidae.
It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitat is boreal forests during breeding and subtropical and tropical forest in the winter quarters.Buff-banded thicketbird
The buff-banded thicketbird or buff-banded bushbird (Cincloramphus bivittatus) is a species of Old World warbler in the Locustellidae family.
It is found in Indonesia and East Timor.Chinese bush warbler
The Chinese bush warbler (Locustella tacsanowskia) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Locustellidae.
It breeds in China and East Asia; it winters to the northeast Indian Subcontinent, Yunnan and Southeast Asia.
Its natural habitat is temperate forests.Cinnamon bracken warbler
The cinnamon bracken warbler (Bradypterus cinnamomeus) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Locustellidae.
It is found in Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests and subtropical or tropical moist shrubland.Evergreen forest warbler
The evergreen forest warbler or Cameroon scrub-warbler (Bradypterus lopezi) is a grass warbler species in the family Locustellidae. It was formerly included in the "Old World warbler" assemblage.
It is found in Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests and subtropical or tropical moist shrubland.
It has a subspecies, Bradypterus lopezi mariae, found in central and western Kenya to northern Tanzania.Fan-tailed grassbird
The fan-tailed grassbird or broad-tailed warbler (Catriscus brevirostris) is an African species of Old World warbler in the Locustellidae family. The species is closely related to the broad-tailed grassbird of India, and is sometimes treated as the same species, although a 2018 study found that it and broad-tailed grassbird were not closely related with the Indian species being a sister of Chaetornis striata.The species has a discontinuous distribution across Africa, and can be found in Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. It is found in grassy areas dominated by grasses, sedges or shrubs near water (streams, rivers or lakes), from 350–2,150 m (1,150–7,050 ft).Grass warbler
The grass warblers are small passerine birds belonging to the genus Locustella. Formerly placed in the paraphyletic "Old World warbler" assemblage, they are now considered the northernmost representatives of a largely Gondwanan family, the Locustellidae. The genus name Locustella is from Latin and is a diminutive of locusta, "grasshopper". Like the English name, this refers to the insect-like song of some species.These are rather drab brownish "warblers" usually associated with fairly open grassland, shrubs or marshes. Some are streaked, others plain, all are difficult to view. They are insectivorous.
The most characteristic feature of this group is that the song of several species is a mechanical insect-like reeling which gives rise to the group's scientific name.
Species breeding in temperate regions are strongly migratory.
The species are:
Russet bush warbler, Locustella mandelli
Dalat bush warbler, Locustella idonea
Sichuan bush warbler, Locustella chengi
Javan bush warbler, Locustella montis
Taiwan bush warbler, Locustella alishanensis
Bamboo warbler, Locustella alfredi
West Himalayan bush warbler, Locustella kashmirensis
Spotted bush warbler, Locustella thoracica
Baikal bush warbler, Locustella davidi
Chestnut-backed bush warbler, Locustella castanea
Long-tailed bush warbler, Locustella caudata
Long-billed bush warbler, Locustella major
Chinese bush warbler, Locustella tacsanowskia
Brown bush warbler, Locustella luteoventris
Benguet bush warbler, Locustella seebohmi
Friendly bush warbler, Locustella accentor
Savi's warbler, Locustella luscinoides
Lanceolated warbler, Locustella lanceolata
River warbler Locustella fluviatilis
Common grasshopper warbler, Locustella naevia
A fossil acrocoracoid from the Late Miocene (about 11 mya) of Rudabánya (NE Hungary) is quite similar to this bone in the present genus. Given its rather early age (most Passerida genera are not known until the Pliocene), it is not too certain that it is correctly placed here, but it is highly likely to belong to the Locustellidae, or the Sylvioidea at the least. As the grasshopper warblers are the only known locustellid warblers from Europe, it is still fairly likely that the bone piece belongs to a basal Locustella.Grauer's swamp warbler
The Grauer's swamp warbler (Bradypterus graueri) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Locustellidae.
It is found in Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda.
Its natural habitats are freshwater lakes and freshwater marshes.
It is threatened by habitat loss.
The Grauer's swamp warbler is endemic to the Albertine Rift and is found in montane swamps above 1900m. An investigation of the species population genetic structure revealed three clades across this region: clade 1, Virunga Volcanoes and Kigezi Highlands; clade 2, Rugege Highlands; and clade 3, Kahuzi-Biega Highlands (with clades 2 and 3 being sister groups). The divergence between these clades is thought to be a result of landscape dynamics and a historic period of aridity.The name commemorates the German zoologist Rudolf Grauer who collected natural history specimens in the Belgian Congo.Gray's grasshopper warbler
Gray's grasshopper warbler (Helopsaltes fasciolatus), also known as Gray's warbler, is a species of grass warbler in the family Locustellidae; it was formerly included in the "Old World warbler" assemblage.
The Sakhalin grasshopper warbler was formerly considered conspecific.Grey emutail
The grey emutail (Bradypterus seebohmi), also known as the Madagascan grassbird or feather-tailed warbler, is an emutail in the Locustellidae family.
It is found only in Madagascar.
Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist shrubland and shrub-dominated wetlands.
The specific name seebohmi refers to Henry Seebohm.Little rush warbler
The little rush warbler or African bush warbler (Bradypterus baboecala) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Locustellidae.Marsh grassbird
The marsh grassbird (Helopsaltes pryeri), also known as the Japanese swamp warbler, is a species of Old World warbler in the family Locustellidae. It is found in China, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, and Russia.
Its natural habitat is swamps. It is threatened by habitat loss.Middendorff's grasshopper warbler
The Middendorff's grasshopper warbler (Helopsaltes ochotensis) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Locustellidae.
It is found in Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Taiwan, and the United States.
The common name commemorates Alexander Theodor von Middendorff (1815–1894), a German–Russian naturalist who traveled extensively in Siberia.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.Russet bush warbler
The russet bush warbler (Locustella mandelli) is a songbird species. Formerly placed in the "Old World warbler" assemblage, it is now placed in the newly recognized family Locustellidae. B. mandelli was until recently considered a subspecies of B. seebohmi, and the name "russet bush warbler" was applied to the entire species complex. After this was split up, Benguet bush warbler was proposed as a new name for B. seebohmi proper. The species is found in southeast Asia.The scientific name commemorates the Italian naturalist Louis Mandelli.Spotted bush warbler
The spotted bush warbler (Locustella thoracica) is a species of Old World warbler in the family Locustellidae.
It is found in the northern Himalayas, Yunnan and central China, in the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar and Nepal. Its natural habitat is arboreal forests.Striated grassbird
The striated grassbird (Megalurus palustris) is an "Old World warbler" species in the family Locustellidae. It was formerly placed in the Sylviidae.
It is found in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Noisy and conspicuous, often sitting and calling exposed on tops of grasses, bushes and telephone wires. Note streaked crown and streaked upper breast.
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 is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to 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.Tawny grassbird
The tawny grassbird (Cincloramphus timoriensis) is a songbird species of the grass- and bush-warbler family (Locustellidae). It was formerly placed in the "Old World warbler" assemblage.
It is found in Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.White-winged swamp warbler
The white-winged swamp warbler (Bradypterus carpalis), also known as the white-winged scrub-warbler, is a species of Old World warbler in the family Locustellidae. It is found in Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Its natural habitat is swamps.