Family Reed-warblers (Acrocephalidae)

Least Concern

Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)


French: Lusciniole à moustaches German: Mariskenrohrsänger Spanish: Carricerín real

Sylvia melanopogon


, 1823,

near Rome, Italy


Nominate birds from Austria differ genetically and morphologically from those of race mimicus from Kazakhstan (L Alakol); further study needed. Race albiventris sometimes included in mimicus. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. m. melanopogon (Temminck, 1823) – S Europe from Spain E to E Ukraine (Kharkov) and W Turkey, and NW Africa. Winters within and S of breeding range, chiefly in Mediterranean region.
  • A. m. albiventris (Kazakov, 1974) – shores of Sea of Azov, lower R Don and Krasnodar area (SE Ukraine and adjacent S Russia). Winters probably in the Middle East.
  • A. m. mimicus (Madarász, 1903) – S & E Turkey, Levant, E Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, S Russia (lower R Volga) and Iran E to E Kazakhstan; perhaps W & N Afghanistan. Winters in S Caspian Sea, S Turkmenistan and from Middle East to SE Afghanistan and NW Indian Subcontinent.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; 8·5–13 g. Rather bright, with strong head pattern. Nominate race has blackish-brown crown, square-ended buff-white supercilium, dusky ear-coverts... read more


    Song, typically from reed top, a prolonged scratchy medley with characteristic richly fluted... read more


    Low aquatic vegetation, especially reedbeds, but also rush stands, sedges, reedmace (Typha... read more

    Food and feeding

    Almost exclusively small arthropods in size range 2–5 mm; especially small beetles (Coleoptera), but also springtails (Collembola),... read more


    Laying late Mar to mid-Jun in Europe; two broods. Monogamous; case of probable polyandry in S Russia (race albiventris), where two... read more


    In Europe sedentary, partially migratory and migratory. Birds from N part of breeding winter within... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common. European population estimated at 150,000–300,000 pairs, including 10,000–30,000 pairs in Danube Delta and c. 9000 pairs... read more

    Recommended citation

    Dyrcz, A. (2020). Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon). 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 7 April 2020).