Grass warbler

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Grass warblers
Locustella luscinioides
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Locustellidae
Genus: Locustella
Kaup, 1829

Locustella accentor
Locustella alishanensis
Locustella amnicola
Locustella castanea
Locustella caudata
Locustella certhiola
Locustella davidi
Locustella fasciolata
Locustella fluviatilis
Locustella kashmirensis
Locustella lanceolata
Locustella luscinoides
Locustella luteoventris
Locustella major
Locustella mandelli
Locustella montis
Locustella naevia
Locustella ochotensis
Locustella pleskei
Locustella pryeri
Locustella seebohmi
Locustella tacsanowskia
Locustella thoracica
Locustella timorensis

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.

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:

A fossil acrocoracoid from the Late Miocene (about 11 mya) of Rudabánya (NE Hungary) is quite similar to this bone in the present genus (Bernor et al. 2002). 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 grass warblers are the only known locustellid warblers from Europe, it is still fairly likely that the bone piece belongs to a basal Locustella.


  • Drovetski, S.V., Zink, R.M., Fadeev, I.V., Nesterov, E.V., Koblik, Ye.A, Red’kin, Ya.A., and Rohwer, S. 2004. Mitochondrial phylogeny of Locustella and related genera. Journal of Avian Biology 35: 105-110 doi:10.1111/j.0908-8857.2004.03217.x
  • Bernor, R.L.; Kordos, L. & Rook, L. (eds): Recent Advances on Multidisciplinary Research at Rudabánya, Late Miocene (MN9), Hungary: A compendium. Paleontographica Italiana 89: 3-36. PDF fulltext
  • del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A. & Christie D. (editors). (2006). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 84-96553-06-X.