Bradypterus baboecala (Little rush-warbler, African sedge-warbler) 

Kaapse vleisanger [Afrikaans]; Unomakhwane [Xhosa]; Moeras-struikzanger [Dutch]; Bouscarle caqueteuse [French]; Sumpfbuschsänger [German]; Felosa-dos-juncos-africana [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: Bradypterus

Bradypterus baboecala (Little rush-warbler, African sedge-warbler) Bradypterus baboecala (Little rush-warbler, African sedge-warbler)

Little rush-warbler, South Africa. [photo Johan van Rensburg ©]

Little rush-warbler, West Coast National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]


Distribution and habitat

Although it occurs locally further north, the bulk of its population occupies the area from southern DRC through Zambia and Angola to southern Africa. Here it is common in marshes, streams and rivers populated by sedge, such as Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) and Bulrushes (Typha capensis). It may also move into seasonally flooded grassland and sewage ponds.

Distribution of Little rush-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.  


Its feeding habits are little known, partly because it forages near the waterline in sedges or reeds, making it very hard to observe. All that is known of its diet is that it eats small insects and ant eggs.


  • The nest is a deep, untidy cup built of reeds or coarse grass, typically placed at the base of a clump of sedge near the waters edge.
  • Egg-laying season is from September-March, peaking from December-January,
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated for about 12-14 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both adults, leaving the nest after about 12-13 days.


Not threatened.


  • 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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