Belongs to: warblers

Compare with: sedge warbler

Reed warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus

Best time to see: end Apr to mid Sep

Key facts

Skulking but noisy bird of reed beds, with a flowing song of repeated three-note phrases

Habitat: reed beds and other dense, tall waterside vegetation

Summer visitor common in appropriate habitat, wintering in Africa


Dagger-like bill, accentuated by sloping forehead; buffy flanks, rusty rump, brown legs; 12–13cm

Usually skulks in deep cover, hopping from stem to stem, but sometimes perches on reed-tops

Feeds on marsh insects, plus berries in autumn; harsh chattering song with a regular rhythm 


Begin to arrive from Africa from the end of April

Nest is a deep cup of grasses woven on to reed stems; one brood May–July; 4–5 pale green eggs, spotted grey

Favourite host for cuckoo's eggs

© David Harrison