Family Grasshopper-warblers and Grassbirds (Locustellidae)

Least Concern

Savi's Warbler (Locustella luscinioides)


French: Locustelle luscinioïde German: Rohrschwirl Spanish: Buscarla unicolor

Sylvia Luscinioides


, 1824,

Pisa, Italy


Sister to L. fluviatilis#R; see also L. lanceolata. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. l. luscinioides (Savi, 1824) – continental Europe S from S Baltic and E to C Urals, Crimea and Balkans, rarely in S & E England; also NW Africa (N Morocco E to N Tunisia), and perhaps this race in NW Turkey. Winters in W Africa (Senegal E to L Chad, S to N Ghana), probably also Sudan.
  • L. l. sarmatica Kazakov, 1973 – E Ukraine (from about Kharkov and E shore of Sea of Azov) E to S Urals, Volga Valley and N foothills of Caucasus. Winters in NE Africa.
  • L. l. fusca (Severtsov, 1873) – Asia Minor, Levant, N & S Kazakhstan (E from upper Emba Valley and Aral Sea), W China (W Xinjiang), Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, NE Iran, perhaps also NW Afghanistan; singing males recorded in NW Mongolia#R and suspected breeding in E Arabian Peninsula S to Oman#R. Winters in NE Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–13·5 cm; 12–21 g. A warmly coloured warbler with rounded tail and pointed wingtip. Nominate race has top and side of head and upperparts unstreaked dark... read more


    Song a continuous reeling with hard, mechanical quality, carrying up to 500 m, introduced by series... read more


    Marshes, fens and lake edges; reedbeds over shallow water, especially with underlayer or clear... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly insects, including mayflies (Ephemeroptera), adult and larval damselflies and dragonflies (Odonata), small grasshoppers (Orthoptera... read more


    Laying mainly mid-May to early Jul, but from late Apr in S Europe and early Apr in Levant; often double-brooded. Usually monogamous;... read more


    Long-distance migrant. Entire population migrates to Africa: nominate race winters from Senegal E... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and locally common, but breeding sites scattered, with wide gaps in distribution. Total population in Europe (excluding Russia) estimated... read more

    Recommended citation

    Pearson, D. (2020). Savi's Warbler (Locustella luscinioides). 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 20 February 2020).