Greater swamp-warbler

Greater swamp-warbler
Acrocephalus rufescens

(Photo from Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
greater swamp-warbler (en); rouxinol-grande-dos-pântanos (pt); rousserolle des cannes (fr); carricero rufo (es); papyrusrohrsänger (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae

This species is patchily distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, with four disjunct subspecies. The subspecies A.r. sengalensis is found in Senegal and Gambia, A.r. rufescens is found from Ghana to the northern Central African Republic and north-western D.R. Congo, A.r. chadensis is found around Lake Chad, and A.r. ansorgei is found from southern South Sudan, through Uganda, western Kenya and eastern D.R. Congo, and into north-western Angola, Zambia, northern Botswana, north-eastern Namibia and western Zimbabwe.

These birds are 16-18 cm long and weigh 22-24 g.

The greater swamp-warbler is found in inland wetlands, such as Cyperus papyrus swamps, reedbeds, Typha stands, wet elephant grass and along river banks, also using seasonaly flooded agricultural fields.

They feed mainly on insects, including beetle larvae, moths and their larvae, damsel flies and other aquatic insects, but also take small frogs.

Greater swamp-warblers can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. The nest is a deep cup made of papyrus and other reed leaves, attached to a number of papyrus stems, usually 1-2,5 m above the water level. There the female lays 2-3 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for about 14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 14 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as scarce to locally common, with an estimated global population of 2,9 million individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. In some areas local destruction of swamps may be cause for concern for this species.

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