Family Grasshopper-warblers and Grassbirds (Locustellidae)

Least Concern

Middendorff's Grasshopper-warbler (Locustella ochotensis)


French: Locustelle de Middendorff German: Middendorffschwirl Spanish: Buscarla de Middendorff
Other common names: Middendorff's Warbler

Sylvia (Locustella) Ochotensis


, 1853,

Udskoye, lower Uda River, Sea of Okhotsk


Has been considered conspecific with either or both of L. certhiola and L. pleskei. Hybridizes with former in E Russia (in lower Amur area and N Sakhalin), where apparently maintains stable intergrade populations, but elsewhere in range it exhibits a constant and distinctive suite of plumage, voice and behavioural characters. Birds of Kamchatka and N Kurils sometimes separated as race subcerthiola#R, but here considered indistinguishable from birds elsewhere in range. Monotypic.


E Russia (coast of Sea of Okhotsk from Magadan S to mouth of R Amur, also Kamchatka), Sakhalin, Kuril Is and N Japan (N & E Hokkaido); non-breeding Philippines and N Borneo.

Descriptive notes

13·5–14·5 cm; 19–23 g. Rather large Locustella with subdued streaking, and well-graduated tail with pale-tipped feathers. Above, plumage is dark olive-... read more


Two-part song given throughout night and much of day, from exposed perch, sometimes in flight, “... read more


Breeds in damp grassland, shrubbery and willow (Salix) thickets, and in thick vegetation... read more

Food and feeding

Insects. Forages within and under low cover.


Laying mid-Jun to early Jul. Territorial; sings at night and during much of day, sometimes in brief hovering song flight. Nest a cup of... read more


Long-distance migrant. Leaves Kamchatka and other N breeding areas late Aug and early Sept, S... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Often common, and locally abundant, within its restricted maritime E Asian range. In Japan, locally common in N & E Hokkaido;... read more

Recommended citation

Pearson, D. (2019). Middendorff's Grasshopper-warbler (Locustella ochotensis). 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 18 April 2019).