Family Reed-warblers (Acrocephalidae)

Least Concern

Madagascar Brush-warbler (Nesillas typica)


French: Nésille malgache German: Madagaskarspötter Spanish: Zarzalero malgache

Ellisia typica


, 1860,



Formerly treated as conspecific with N. lantzii, but the two occur sympatrically without interbreeding and they are not sister-species#R. Has also been considered conspecific with N. brevicaudata, but differs vocally. Race longicaudata sometimes treated as a separate species, but claim that its call is faster and higher-pitched, part-justifying its species rank#R, is not supported by the limited available evidence#R. Race ellisii previously subsumed within nominate (as in HBW), but validated in recent times#R#R. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. t. longicaudata (E. Newton, 1877) – Anjouan Brush-warbler – Anjouan (Ndzuani), in Comoro Is.
  • N. t. moheliensis Benson, 1960 – Mohéli (Mwali), in Comoro Is.
  • N. t. typica (Hartlaub, 1860) – Madagascar Brush-warbler – S & C Madagascar, to edge of W savanna.
  • N. t. ellisii (Schlegel & Pollen, 1868) – N & NE Madagascar S to c. 18° S.
  • N. t. obscura Delacour, 1931 – W savanna of Madagascar.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–18 cm; 17–21 g. A rather large, slender, olive-brown warbler with short wings, and long, narrow, graduated tail of ten or twelve feathers. Nominate race has... read more


    Usual call (Madagascar) is a succession of shrill clipped notes, “krak-trak-trak-trak-trak-trak”... read more


    In Madagascar, lower levels of dense primary and degraded forest, secondary growth, gardens and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects. Forages actively, alone or in pairs, in interior of low bushy vegetation and dense shrubbery, gleaning items from leaves and... read more


    Breeds Aug–Feb, mainly Oct–Dec, in Madagascar. Nest a cup of woven dry grasses, lined with softer material, built 0·2–0·6... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to abundant in medium-altitude evergreen forest throughout most of Madagascar; common on Anjouan and Mohéli.

    Recommended citation

    Pearson, D. (2019). Madagascar Brush-warbler (Nesillas typica). 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 24 January 2019).