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Acrocephalus schoenobaenus (Sedge warbler, European sedge-warbler) 

Europese vleisanger [Afrikaans]; Niini (generic term for warblers and eremomelas) [Kwangali]; Rietzanger [Dutch]; Phragmite des joncs [French]; Schilfrohrsänger [German]; Felosa-dos-juncos [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Sylviidae > Genus: Acrocephalus

Acrocephalus schoenobaenus (Sedge warbler, European sedge-warbler)  Acrocephalus schoenobaenus (Sedge warbler, European sedge-warbler) 

Sedge warbler, Rundu Sewage Works, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Sedge warbler. [photo Neil Gray ©]

Distribution and habitat

Palearctic breeding migrant, with breeding grounds stretching from western Europe to Scandinavia to Siberia. In the non-breeding season it heads south to sub-Sarahan Africa, where it is widespread, occurring from Senegal to Ethiopia south to southern Africa. Here it is locally common in wetlands, especially well vegetated sewerage works. It generally stays in reedbeds, often including Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) or weeds and trees at the waters edge.

Distribution of Sedge warbler in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Movements and migrations

Individuals gradually arrive in southern from late October-January, peaking around late November and December. Departure is more rapid, with most birds leaving from March-April.


It mainly preys upon slow-moving arthropods, gleaning them from vegetation, or occasionally from the ground or water surface. Before it migrates it often fattens up with midges.


Not threatened, although its range has markedly decreased in central Europe, the cause of which is though to be drought in the Sahel.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

  • Harrison, J.A., Allan, D.G., Underhill, L.G., Herremans, M., Tree. A.J., Parker, V. & Brown, C.J. (eds). 1997. The atlas of southern African birds. Vol. 2: Passerines. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.