Acrocephalus gracilirostris (Lesser swamp-warbler, Cape reed-warbler) 

Kaapse rietsanger [Afrikaans]; Niini (generic term for warblers and eremomelas) [Kwangali]; Soamahlaka-ntšitšoeu [South Sotho]; Timba (generic name for cisticolas and warblers) [Shona]; Kaapse rietzanger [Dutch]; Rousserolle à bec fin [French]; Kaprohrsänger [German]; Rouxinol-pequeno-dos-pântanos [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Sylviidae > Genus: Acrocephalus

Acrocephalus gracilirostris (Lesser swamp-warbler, Cape reed-warbler)  Acrocephalus gracilirostris (Lesser swamp-warbler, Cape reed-warbler) 
Lesser swamp-warbler, Paarl Bird Sancutary, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©] Lesser swamp-warbler. [photo Johann du Preez ©]
Acrocephalus gracilirostris (Lesser swamp-warbler, Cape reed-warbler)  Acrocephalus gracilirostris (Lesser swamp-warbler, Cape reed-warbler) 
Lesser swamp-warbler, West Coast Fossil Park, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo H. Robertson, Iziko ©] Lesser swamp-warbler, West Coast Fossil Park, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo H. Robertson, Iziko ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from East Africa through Tanzania, Zambia and northern Mozambique to southern Africa. It is quite habitat specific, preferring reeds (Phragmites) and Bulrushes (Typha capensis) in lagoons, estuaries, marshes, rivers and man-made impoundments.

Distribution of Lesser swamp-warbler in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Food 

It does most of its foraging near the water surface, nimbly gleaning invertebrates from reed stems. It also takes food from the leaf litter and tree foliage on the banks of the water body, and it may even forage in the tree canopy.

Breeding

  • The nest is constructed solely by the female, who collects plant debris from the ground and rips off parts of reed stems. Using these she weaves together a neat, cone-shaped cup, strung between 2-3 reed stems typically within 1 metre of the water surface.
  • Egg-laying season is from August-May, peaking from October-February.
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 13-14 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both adults, leaving the nest after about 10-14 days.

Threats

Not threatened.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

  • Harrison, J.A., Allan, D.G., Underhill, L.G., Herremans, M., Tree. A.J., Parker, V. & Brown, C.J. (eds). 1997. The atlas of southern African birds. Vol. 2: Passerines. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.

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