Family Reed-warblers (Acrocephalidae)

Least Concern

African Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus baeticatus)

Following the taxonomy applied to HBW Alive, derived from the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, this taxon is now lumped within Common Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus).


French: Rousserolle africaine German: Gartenrohrsänger Spanish: Carricero Africano
Other common names: South African Reed-warbler (baeticatus), Rufescent African Reed-warbler, Cinnamon African Reed-warbler, Tropical African Reed-warbler, African Marsh Warbler (other races)

Sylvia baeticata


, 1817,

Knysna district, south-east Western Cape, South Africa


Belongs to a probably monophyletic group of small plain-coloured species that also includes A. scirpaceus, A. dumetorum and A. palustris, along with the closely related A. agricola superspecies (comprising also A. tangorum and A. concinens). Has been considered conspecific with A. scirpaceus, but generally regarded as distinct because of different migratory behaviour and associated wing structure; DNA studies suggest that race avicenniae should perhaps be placed with that species. Proposed race fraterculus (from S Mozambique) synonymized with cinnamomeus. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution

Descriptive notes

12–13 cm; 8·8–12 g (mean 10·3 g). A small unstreaked reed-warbler with short, round-tipped wing. Nominate race has indistinct whitish supercilium,... read more


Song, usually from concealed perch, a rhythmic series of repeated grating and squeaky notes, such... read more


Breeds mainly in marshy or moist habitat, such as reeds (Phragmites), reedmace (Typha... read more

Food and feeding

Insectivorous. Forages mainly at medium height or low down among reeds, sedges and papyrus, or within bushes, hedges, dry herbaceous growth... read more


Breeds mainly during rains, Jun–Jul in Senegal, Sept–Oct in W Sudan, Jan in CE Africa, Feb in Zambia, Sept–Jan in Namibia... read more


Some populations are chiefly migratory. Most South African breeders move N in May, returning in Aug... read more

Status and conservation

Not assessed. Locally common; numbers generally small in N part of breeding range, while widespread and more numerous in S Africa. In Namibia, breeds in “islands... read more

Recommended citation

Dyrcz, A. (2019). African Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus baeticatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 February 2019).