Family Grasshopper-warblers and Grassbirds (Locustellidae)

Least Concern

Sakhalin Grasshopper-warbler (Locustella amnicola)


French: Locustelle amnicole German: Sachalinschwirl Spanish: Buscarla de Sajalín
Other common names: Sakhalin Warbler, Stepanyan's Warbler

Locustella amnicola


, 1972,

lower part of valley of Igriva River, where it flows into Aniva Bay, Tonino-Anivsky Peninsula, southern Sakhalin


Although described as a species, usually treated as a race of L. fasciolata, but genetic distinctiveness rather strong#R#R#R; and while it differs only subtly in morphology, with summer birds having browner, less olive-green upperparts (1), brown vs grey ear-coverts (ns[1]), reduced or no grey on dull olive-buff breast and flanks (1), warm fulvous-brown vs pale brown lower flanks to vent (1) and slightly shorter wing and tarsus (allow 1), vocally fairly distinctive, with slower (2), longer (2) song phrases#R. However, review of characters suggests distinctiveness of plumage characters not always consistent#R#R, and trend in L. fasciolata in NE China towards characters associated with present species#R indicates more work is needed to confirm this split. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Sakhalin, S Kuril Is and N Japan (Hokkaido); non-breeding range presumably in the Wallacean region.

Descriptive notes

16·5–18 cm; 23·9–33 g. A large Locustella, strong-billed with longish graduated tail and pointed feather tips, and unstreaked plumage. Adult in fresh plumage has the... read more


Song is a loud explosive phrase starting with a few staccato notes quickly accelerating into a... read more


Breeds in damp thickets, woodland edges, dense shady alder and willow thickets, and tall grasses... read more

Food and feeding

Insects. Forages among grass stems or deep within bushes.


Season in Japan lasts from Jun to Aug, with eggs laid between early Jun and late Jul. Territorial. Nest reported to be sited 1·5–4·5 m... read more


Presumably a long-distance migrant. Leaves Hokkaido breeding areas in Aug and Sept, move SW across... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Few data. Locally common in lowland plains of N & E Hokkaido, but is less numerous in S lowlands of same island and is rare in W... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Sakhalin Grasshopper-warbler (Locustella amnicola). 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).