Family Grasshopper-warblers and Grassbirds (Locustellidae)

Least Concern

Highland Rush-warbler (Bradypterus centralis)


French: Mégalure de Neumann German: Papyrusbuschsänger Spanish: Zarzalero montano
Other common names: Eastern Rush-warbler

Bradypterus brachypterus centralis


, 1908,

between Mukingo and Muhera, Rwanda


See B. graueri. Until recently considered conspecific with B. baboecala, but genetic analysis suggests present species belongs to a distinct lineage apparently coinciding with a markedly higher frequency (score 3) and buzzier tone (2) in song#R; however, genetic and vocal sampling incomplete and morphological characters unstudied, rendering authority and accuracy of new arrangement very weak. Distinctive song known from nominate and elgonensis#R, and genetic sampling also places them together#R, but sampling of supposed nominate was from Nigeria; for geographical reasons, therefore, unsampled races sudanensis and chadensis tentatively assigned here (as elsewhere#R) to present species, although recently discovered population in Ghana considered to refer to or be allied with B. b. msiri#R. Patchwork distribution of the two species further evident when B. b. abyssinicus was confirmed to sing like southern B. baboecala#R. Song of present species may be a character displacement produced by co-occurrence with B. carpalis, which sings like B. baboecala#R, suggesting a regional adaptation rather than a specific character; but molecular evidence counters this notion. Much more research needed. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. c. chadensis Bannerman, 1936 – L Chad.
  • B. c. centralis Neumann, 1908 – Disjunct populations in S Ghana#R, S Togo#R, S Benin#R, Nigeria and Cameroon; also NE DRCongo E to SW Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and NW & N Tanzania.
  • B. c. sudanensis C. H. B. Grant & Mackworth-Praed, 1941 – South Sudan and extreme W Ethiopia (Gambela)#R.
  • B. c. elgonensis Madarász, 1912 – Mount Elgon and highlands of W & C Kenya.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–15 cm; 10·4–15 g. A medium-sized warbler with short wings, well-graduated tail of 12 rounded feathers, slim bill, and dark throat streaks. Sexes alike. Juvenile has richer... read more


    Song consists of a series of high-pitched, buzzy, insect-like notes that start slowly, then speed... read more


    In W Africa, recorded in permanent marshes beside lagoons and lakes, including Typha,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Very little information, but diet and foraging behaviour appear similar to those of B. baboecala.


    Egg-laying recorded in Apr–May in Chad, Jun–Aug in W Cameroon and Apr–Nov in DRCongo and E Africa (e.g. Aug–Sept in Uganda), with a fluffy... read more


    Mainly sedentary, but an influx was recorded at L Baringo in Feb–Apr and records at man-made... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Discovered in Togo in 2002, Ghana in 2005, where several additional localities were soon identified (and other potential sites remain... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Highland Rush-warbler (Bradypterus centralis). 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 20 April 2019).