Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris)


Plain and characterless plumage, but conspicuous song. Larger than Sedge Warbler, with larger wings, broader tail and tail-base. Very similar to Reed Warbler, and very hard to distinguish by plumage alone. Rump of Marsh warbler shows less contrast to back, and flanks have a yellowish tinge. Bill slightly shorter and less pointed. Differs from Blyth's Reed Warbler by longer primary projection, yellowish lower mandible and paler legs. Juveniles especially hard to identify because of even fainter plumage field marks. Less common in reed beds than Reed Warblers, and more attached to bushes with lush undergrowth.


Song extremely varied and full of mimicry of both European and African species. Up to 75 species imitated by the same bird. Phrases often repeated 2-4 times, and different phrases may overlap. Nevertheless, clearly defined phrases with marked pauses. Sometimes more flowing streams of notes, but less so than Icterine Warbler. Most similar to Icterine and Blyth's Reed Warbler. Softer timbre than Icterine, and not so loud. More defined pauses and staccato tempo, and lacks Icterine Warbler's nasal high-pitched calls. Differs from Blyth's Reed Warbler in fewer repetitions of each phrase, and lack of said species' whistling, arpeggio-like calls. Typical sequence is a hoarse, drawn "ti-chaaa". Alarm call a short "chepp" with clipped ending.


Error loading Flash for sound!
See sound file


Xeno-canto: map


Birdlife ecology

Links: Latest observations

Video IBC

Image search Flickr NB! May give other species

Sound search at Xeno-canto



Sounds:Recorded by Edmunds Racinskis

Length (cm):
Wingspan (cm):
Weight (gram):
Size group:
Silhouette Group:
Next species
Prev species
Change to another species
Compare to another species
Several different images of the species
Several different sounds of the species
Error loading Flash for sound!
See sound file
Error loading Flash for sound!
See sound file
Error loading Flash for sound!
See sound file
Error loading Flash for sound!
See sound file