Family Grasshopper-warblers and Grassbirds (Locustellidae)

Least Concern

Madagascar Grassbird (Amphilais seebohmi)


French: Amphilaïs tachetée German: Madagaskarschilfsänger Spanish: Yerbera malgache
Other common names: Grey Emu-tail

Dromaeocercus seebohmi


, 1879,

near Antananarivo, Madagascar


Formerly included in Dromaeocercus, together with Bradypterus brunneus, on account of similarity in their tail structure; however, other morphological features suggest relationship with several grassbirds of presently unresolved affinities. Monotypic.


Mountains of E Madagascar.

Descriptive notes

17 cm; c. 20 g. Very long, graduated tail remarkable for its fragile, disintegrating appearance, enhanced by prominent rachis and spaced barbs; distinctly short uppertail-... read more


Song, from within cover, a series of clear melodic whistles, “teeo-teeo-teeo” repeated up to c. 12... read more


Montane plateau grasslands and heathland, with marshy vegetation, particularly bordering broadleaf... read more

Food and feeding

Food almost entirely tiny insects. Extremely skulking; keeps well hidden, low down in vegetation, clambering nimbly among grass stalks,... read more


Poorly documented. Breeds Nov. Only two nests described, a deep bowl of entwined grasses, lined with softer grasses, built in grass tuft,... read more


Resident, but some probably disperse to lower elevations outside breeding season.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in East Malagasy Wetlands EBA. Uncommon; is, however, very easily overlooked owing to its shy and skulking... read more

Recommended citation

Madge, S. (2019). Madagascar Grassbird (Amphilais seebohmi). 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 21 April 2019).