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Acrocephalus scirpaceus (Eurasian reed-warbler, European reed-warbler) 

Hermanse rietsanger [Afrikaans]; Kleine karekiet [Dutch]; Rousserolle effarvatte [French]; Teichrohrsänger [German]; Rouxinol-pequeno-dos-caniços [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 scirpaceus (Eurasian reed-warbler, European reed-warbler)   

European reed-warbler, Kuwait. [photo rashed1112 ©]


Distribution and habitat

Its breeding grounds stretch from north Africa to Europe and Russia; in the non-breeding season it heads south to sub-Saharan Africa, where it occurs from Senegal to Ethiopia south through the DRC to Zambia and southern Africa. Here it is fairly common in certain localities of the Caprivi Strip and northern Botswana, but much more rare in Zimbabwe, south-eastern Botswana and South Africa.

Distribution of Eurasian reed-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).

Movements and migrations

It arrives in Kenya and Uganda around November-January, with most records from Botswana in late November to December, leaving from March to early April.


It mainly eats insects such as termite alates and mosquitoes, doing most of its foraging in the reedbed but occasionally taking prey from the ground or surface.


Not threatened, its European breeding population is thought to be several million.


  • 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.