Family Grasshopper-warblers and Grassbirds (Locustellidae)

Least Concern

Lanceolated Warbler (Locustella lanceolata)


French: Locustelle lancéolée German: Strichelschwirl Spanish: Buscarla lanceolada

Sylvia lanceolata


, 1840,

Mainz, Germany, error = Russia


Forms a group with L. fluviatilis and L. luscinioides, as confirmed by DNA studies#R; these three also have close affinities to several Asian species formerly placed in Bradypterus. Race gigantea (Shaweishan I, E China) is synonym of hendersonii. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. l. lanceolata (Temminck, 1840) – SE Finland, Russia (Karelia, and from Perm and W Urals E to lower R Kolyma, S Kamchatka and Sea of Okhotsk, and S to Altai, Amurland and Ussuriland), N Mongolia and NE China; probably N Korea#R. Winters in NE Indian Subcontinent, Andamans and Nicobars, SE Asia and N Philippines S to Sumatra and W Java.
  • L. l. hendersonii (Cassin, 1858) – Sakhalin, Kurils and N Japan (Hokkaido); winters in SE Asia.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13·5 cm; 9–13 g. Smallest and most heavily marked Locustella. Nominate race has top of head olive-brown with blackish spotting, side of head... read more


    Song a continuous thin reeling, with “ventriloquial” effect as bird turns its head;... read more


    Damp valleys, especially by streams and on lake and marsh edges, open meadows with scattered bushes... read more

    Food and feeding

    Adult and larval insects, especially beetles (Coleoptera) and ants (Hymenoptera); also spiders (Araneae); seeds also taken. Forages on... read more


    Laying begins mid-Jun in Transbaikalia and late Jun in C Siberia. Solitary, territorial. Nest a deep thick-walled cup of dry grass, leaves... read more


    Long-distance migrant. Non-breeding grounds extend from NE Indian Subcontinent E to Myanmar and... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common throughout large Siberian breeding range; common also in N Japan (Hokkaido). Population in extreme W of range (W of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Pearson, D. (2020). Lanceolated Warbler (Locustella lanceolata). 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 26 February 2020).