Family Reed-warblers (Acrocephalidae)

Least Concern

Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris)


French: Rousserolle verderolle German: Sumpfrohrsänger Spanish: Carricero políglota

Motacilla s. Sylvia palustris


, 1798,

Thuringia, Germany


Probably closer to A. dumetorum than to A. scirpaceus; has hybridized with former in SE Finland and with latter in England and Norway#R, as well as with A. schoenobaenus also in Norway#R. Proposed race laricus (Iran) not recognized, as identifying characters not known to be constant#R. Monotypic.


S England (local), S Scandinavia, N & E France and N Italy E to NW Kazakhstan, S to N Balkans, E Turkey and NW Iran; winters in SE Africa.

Descriptive notes

13 cm; 10–13 g (mean 11·9 g). Small, rather plump unstreaked reed-warbler with relatively long wings. Has short but quite distinct creamy supercilium, narrow... read more


Song distinctive, loud, a rich, warbling medley combining clear liquid trills, fluted phrases, bell... read more


Prefers rank, tufty and fairly tall herbage, especially nettles (Urtica), meadowsweet (... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly small arthropods. Items taken in W part of range are mayflies (Ephemeroptera), damselflies (of families Coenagriidae,... read more


Season second half of May to Jul in W & C Europe; typically, one brood. Monogamous, with opportunistic polygyny. Nest built by female... read more


Migratory; non-breeding grounds in SE Africa. Leaves breeding grounds mainly from Aug, but some not... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common. European population estimated as 3,200,000–6,800,000 pairs. Densities of 62·5–133 breeding pairs/10 ha estimated on small sample... read more

Recommended citation

Dyrcz, A. (2020). Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris). 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 February 2020).