Acrocephalus (bird)

  (Redirected from Reed warbler)

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.

Carricero tordal.jpg
Great reed warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Acrocephalidae
Genus: Acrocephalus
J. A. Naumann and J. F. Naumann, 1811

About 35, see text.

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".[1]

List of species in taxonomic orderEdit

This Eurasian reed warbler is raising the young of a common cuckoo.

The genus contains 43 species of which 6 insular forms are now extinct:[2]

Fragmentary fossil remains from the Late Miocene (about 11 mya) of Rudabánya (NE Hungary) show some apomorphies typical of this genus.[3] 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 Acrocephalidae at the least.


  1. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  2. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (January 2020). "Bushtits, leaf warblers, reed warblers". IOC World Bird List Version 11.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  3. ^ Bernor R.L.; Kordos L.; Rook L. (2002). "Recent Advances on Multidisciplinary Research at Rudabánya, Late Miocene (MN9), Hungary: a compendium" (PDF). Palaeontographia Italica (89): 3–36.

Further readingEdit

  • Olsson, U.; Rguibi-Idrissi, H.; Copete, J.L.; Arroyo Matos, J.L.; Provost, P.; Amezian, M.; Alström, P.; Jiguet, F. (2016). "Mitochondrial phylogeny of the Eurasian/African reed warbler complex (Acrocephalus, Aves). Disagreement between morphological and molecular evidence and cryptic divergence: A case for resurrecting Calamoherpe ambigua Brehm 1857". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 102: 30–44. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.05.026.

External linksEdit