Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)

Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)

The first arrival here in Argyll this year was heard on 20th April at Balvicar Marsh on the Isle of Seil by John Sedgwick one of our members. I heard the first one here at Greenhill Cottage, Luing on 23rd April and they were widespread in the county by the end of the month.

The Sedge Warbler is a medium-sized warbler of marshes, reedbeds and wetlands and is a summer visitor to the UK, breeding in wetland habitats from April onwards. Their song period continues into early August by which time they are thinking of returning south. Autumn passage usually ends by the beginning of October.

Sedge Warblers are sandy brown. They are paler underneath and streaky above, with a dark, streaked cap. They have a very distinctive white eye-stripe. They are a widespread summer visitor and eat insects and sometimes berries in autumn. A great mimic, the male sedge warbler introduces random phrases into its repertoire, never singing the same song twice; he attracts more mates the more phrases his song has.

Sedge Warblers devote a great deal of time to singing, either from the depths of cover or from such vantage points as alders and birches in full view. When in song the whole bird pulses with effort, turning from side to side with the throat conspicuously puffed-out. Its song is a noisy, scratchy warble compared to the more rhythmic song of the Reed Warbler.

Click on the link below to hear the scratchy song of the Sedge Warbler :-

Photo courtesy of John Speirs