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Melocichla mentalis (Moustached grass-warbler, Moustached warbler) 

Breëstertgrasvoël [Afrikaans]; baardgrasvogel [Dutch]; Mélocichle à moustaches [French]; Bartgrassänger [German]; Felosa-de-bigodes [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

Melocichla mentalis (Moustached grass-warbler, Moustached warbler)  Melocichla mentalis (Moustached grass-warbler, Moustached warbler)

Moustached grass-warblers, Honde Valley, Zimbabwe. [both photos Johann Grobbelaar ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in a band from West to East Africa, extending southwards through eastern DRC, Angola, Tanzania to southern Africa. In this region it only occupies small areas of Zimbabwe’s eastern highlands and adjacent Mozambique, preferring marshy ground around streams overgrown with grass, bracken and scattered shrubs, also in scrub between grassland and woodland or forest.

Distribution of Moustached grass-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).


Its feeding habits are little known, but it has been observed foraging on the ground, catching beetles mantids and grasshoppers.


  • Only 3 nests have been found in southern Africa, and interestingly they vary in their descriptions. They all were bowl-shaped, but one was made of dead banana sheathing, the other was built of strips of millet bound with spider web, and the other was made of grass, twigs and leaves. They were lined with soft material and placed in the center of grass tussocks.
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated mainly by the female.
  • No information is available about the chicks, other than that they are fed by both parents.


Not threatened.


  • 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.