Family Crombecs and allies (Macrosphenidae)

Least Concern

Moustached Grass-warbler (Melocichla mentalis)


French: Mélocichle à moustaches German: Bart-Bülbülgrasmücke Spanish: Yerbera bigotuda

Drymoica mentalis


, 1843,

Accra, Ghana


Race amauroura intergrades with nominate in Uele region of E DRCongo. Proposed race incana known only from type locality of Momella, on Mt Meru (NE Tanzania); more data required to confirm validity. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. m. mentalis (Fraser, 1843) – S Senegal S to N Liberia, and E to Central African Republic and N DRCongo; S Gabon E to S DRCongo (E to Kasai and Maniema); N & WC Angola and NW Zambia.
  • M. m. amauroura (Pelzeln, 1883) – W, S & E South Sudan and SW Ethiopia S to E DRCongo, Uganda, W, C & SE Kenya, W & N Tanzania (S, in NE, to Kilimanjaro and Arusha) and N & C Zambia.
  • M. m. orientalis (Sharpe, 1883) – E & S Tanzania, Malawi and adjacent E Zambia, E Zimbabwe highlands, and N & C Mozambique.
  • M. m. luangwae Benson, 1958 – E Zambia (Plateau of Eastern Province).
  • Descriptive notes

    18–20 cm; 29–40 g. A large bulky warbler with strong bill and long, broad graduated tail. Nominate race is olive-brown above, tinged rufous on forehead, rump and... read more


    Song, often from exposed grass stem or bush, a succession of loud sharp notes accelerating into... read more


    Rank grass and coarse herbage with scattered bushes in areas with medium to high rainfall;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including mantids, grasshoppers (Orthoptera) and small beetles (Coleoptera). Forages usually singly or in pairs; skulks in low... read more


    Breeds during main wet season, in W Africa mainly Apr–Aug; in DRCongo Mar–Dec in N and Nov–Apr in S; Oct–Jan in... read more


    Mainly sedentary. In S Mauritania a scarce wet-season visitor.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common throughout most of N tropical guinean savanna belt; less common, and somewhat local, in rest of range. Locally fairly common in E & SC... read more

    Recommended citation

    Pearson, D. (2019). Moustached Grass-warbler (Melocichla mentalis). 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 February 2019).