Family Grasshopper-warblers and Grassbirds (Locustellidae)


Knysna Warbler (Bradypterus sylvaticus)


French: Mégalure de Knysna German: Kapbuschsänger Spanish: Zarzalero del Knysna

Bradypterus sylvaticus


, 1860,

Knysna, south-east Western Cape, South Africa


Has been considered allied to B. alfredi on basis of shortish rounded tail, but the two have totally different songs; DNA analysis indicates closest relationship is with B. brunneus but B. alfredi has not been tested genetically#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. s. sylvaticus Sundevall, 1860 – coastal S South Africa (Cape Peninsula E to Port Elizabeth).
  • B. s. pondoensis Haagner, 1909 – #Rcoastal SE South Africa (E Eastern Cape).
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm; 16·5 g. A smallish dark brown Bradypterus with fine bill, and fan-shaped tail of twelve broad feathers. Nominate race has top and side of head dark olive-... read more


    Song an accelerating sequence of sharp high-pitched notes leading into lower-pitched hard trill, “... read more


    Dense low vegetation, usually along watercourses, or over drainage lines in fynbos forest patches;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, including grasshoppers (Orthoptera), insect larvae, spiders (Araneae), slugs and worms; nestlings in SW Cape fed mainly with... read more


    Egg-laying Sept–Oct. Monogamous; solitary, territorial. Nest built by female, loose and bulky, composed of leaves, pine needles and... read more



    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE. Restricted-range species: present in South African Forests EBA. Rare and local; total population in thousands only. Has small, fragmented and declining range.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Pearson, D. (2018). Knysna Warbler (Bradypterus sylvaticus). 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 15 December 2018).