Lesser swamp warbler
|Lesser swamp warbler|
|At Marievale, Gauteng|
The lesser swamp warbler or Cape reed warbler (Acrocephalus gracilirostris) is an Old World warbler in the genus Acrocephalus. It is a resident breeder in Africa from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Chad and Ethiopia south to South Africa. This is a common species of reedbeds in standing water.
The lesser swamp warbler is a plain coloured smallish bird 14–16 cm long and weighing around 20 gm. Its upperparts are rich brown, and it has a white supercilium. The underparts are white, with a rufous wash to the flanks. The long, strong bill has a slightly down-curved upper mandible; it is blackish-yellow with a yellower base. The legs are blue-grey and the eyes are brown. Adults of both sexes and juvenile birds are very similar in appearance.
The song is rich and melodious, a series of bubbly phrases that include trilling notes, cheerup chee trrreee and a large number of variations, with pauses between phrases.
The lesser swamp warbler builds a deep, firm cup nest from strips of reed blades, grass and sedges, which is lined with finer grasses. It is always placed in reeds above water. It nests mainly from August to December, with the earliest nesters being those in the winter rainfall areas of the Western Cape Province. It lays two or three brown eggs. This species is monogamous, pairing for life.
This common species has a large range, with an estimated extent of 5.700,000 km². The population size is believed to be large, and the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
- Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1
- SASOL e-guide
- Birds of Southern Africa
- Lesser swamp warbler - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds.