Family Grasshopper-warblers and Grassbirds (Locustellidae)

Least Concern

Barratt's Warbler (Bradypterus barratti)


French: Mégalure des fourrés German: Barrattbuschsänger Spanish: Zarzalero de Barratt
Other common names: Barratt's Scrub-warbler

Bradypterus barratti


, 1876,

Mac Mac Forest, Zweru, Lydenberg district, Mpumalanga, South Africa


Has been treated as conspecific with B. lopezi, but habitat preference, song and tail morphology (rather broad rectrices) all differ; alternatively, was believed to be closest to B. cinnamomeus (probably also including B. bangwaensis); all four species comprise a group of similar warblers of forest and forest edge. Genetic data demonstrate that B. lopezi is sister to B. cinnamomeus and that present species represents the basal taxon within this grouping#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. b. priesti Benson, 1946 – E Zimbabwe and adjacent Mozambique.
  • B. b. barratti Sharpe, 1876 – NE South Africa (EC Limpopo and Mpumalanga) and W Swaziland.
  • B. b. godfreyi (Roberts, 1922) – E South Africa (lowland KwaZulu-Natal S to coastal Eastern Cape).
  • B. b. cathkinensis Vincent, 1948 – highlands of E South Africa (from Mpumalanga S through interior KwaZulu-Natal to Griqualand West, in Eastern Cape) and Lesotho.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–16 cm; 16–22 g. A dark brown warbler with longish graduated tail, greyish-brown underparts, and distinct dusky throat streaks. Nominate race has top and side... read more


    Song 2 or 3 high notes leading into lower, ringing, slow even trill, “tseee tseee tchui-tchui-tchui... read more


    Dense tangled vegetation, often near water. Undergrowth in temperate forest; bracken (Pteridium... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including crickets (Orthoptera). Forages very low down, or by running mouse-like on ground; less secretive than other Afrotropical... read more


    Egg-laying in Oct–Dec in Zimbabwe; in South Africa, laying late Nov to Dec in Northern Province and Sept–Dec in KwaZulu-Natal.... read more


    Altitudinal migrant. In Zimbabwe highlands, post-breeding descent to lower altitudes, largely in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread in temperate areas of S Africa, and common in suitable habitat. Fairly adaptable; able to occupy and exploit small patches... read more

    Recommended citation

    Pearson, D. (2019). Barratt's Warbler (Bradypterus barratti). 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 April 2019).