Aquatic Warbler

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Common Name: Aquatic Warbler
Scientific Name: Acrocephalus paludicola

Size: 4.7 – 5.1 inches (12-13cm)

Habitat: Eurasia; Breeds in temperate eastern Europe and western Asia. Winters in West Africa. After many years of uncertainty, the wintering grounds of much of the European population were finally discovered in Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, Senegal, with between 5-10,000 birds present at this single site. Its south-westerly migration route means that it is regular on passage as far west as Great Britain.

Found in wet sedge beds with vegetation shorter than 30 cm.

Status: Threatened. Global Population: 22,000 - 30,000 Mature individuals and decreasing. The most important threats are owing to drainage for agriculture and peat extraction, damming of floodplains, unfavorable water management and the canalization of rivers. Habitat degradation is widespread where traditional fen management has ceased allowing succession to unsuitable overgrown reedbed, scrub or woodland. Uncontrolled fires in spring and summer pose a direct threat to birds and nests, and can burn out the upper peat layer of fens. In the wintering grounds, agricultural cultivation and irrigation (creation of rice and sugar cane plantations), drought, wetland drainage, intensive grazing, succession to scrub, desertification and salinisation of irrigated soils are all potential threats.

It is legally protected in Belarus, Germany, Hungary and Poland. Key breeding sites in Belarus, Germany, Hungary and Poland are within protected areas. Habitat is actively managed in Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Hungary and Germany. All breeding range states but Russia have monitoring programs. Studies on halting succession have been conducted in Belarus, Poland and Ukraine. A European action plan was published in 1996 and was updated in 1998 and 2003.

Diet: Insects and occasionally berries.

Breeding: The sexes are identical, as with most warblers, but young birds are unstreaked on the breast below.

It breeds in large open lowland marsh habitats with low grassy vegetation (mostly sedge fen mires) with water mostly less than 10 cm deep. 3-5 eggs are laid in a nest in low vegetation. This species is highly promiscuous, with most males and females having offspring with multiple partners.

Cool Facts: It can be confused with juvenile Sedge Warbler, which may show a crown stripe, but the marking is stronger in this species, which appears paler and spiky-tailed in flight.

Found in Songbird ReMix Threatened, Endangered, Extinct 3

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