The grasshopper 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. The genus name Locustella is from Latin and is a diminutive of locusta, "grasshopper". Like the English name, this refers to the insect-like song of some species.
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:
- Russet bush warbler, Locustella mandelli
- Sichuan bush warbler, Locustella chengi
- Javan bush warbler, Locustella montis
- Taiwan bush warbler, Locustella alishanensis
- West Himalayan bush warbler, Locustella kashmirensis
- Spotted bush warbler, Locustella thoracica
- Baikal bush warbler, Locustella davidi
- Chestnut-backed bush warbler, Locustella castanea
- Long-tailed bush warbler, Locustella caudata
- Long-billed bush warbler, Locustella major
- Chinese bush warbler, Locustella tacsanowskia
- Brown bush warbler, Locustella luteoventris
- Benguet bush warbler, Locustella seebohmi
- Timor bush warbler, Locustella timorensis
- Friendly bush warbler, Locustella accentor
- Savi's warbler, Locustella luscinoides
- Pallas's grasshopper warbler, Locustella certhiola
- Middendorff's grasshopper warbler, Locustella ochotensis
- Lanceolated warbler, Locustella lanceolata
- River warbler Locustella fluviatilis
- Gray's grasshopper warbler, Locustella fasciolata
- Sakhalin grasshopper warbler, Locustella amnicola
- Common grasshopper warbler, Locustella naevia
- Styan's grasshopper warbler, Locustella pleskei
- Marsh grassbird, Locustella pryeri
A fossil acrocoracoid from the Late Miocene (about 11 mya) of Rudabánya (NE Hungary) is quite similar to this bone in the present genus. 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 grasshopper warblers are the only known locustellid warblers from Europe, it is still fairly likely that the bone piece belongs to a basal Locustella.
- Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 229. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
- "Grasshopper". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- 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.
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