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Species Guide

Basra Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus griseldis

The Basra reed warbler, Acrocephalus griseldis, is a member of the warbler genus Acrocephalus, a group known for their melodious songs and affinity for reedy habitats. This particular species is a modestly sized bird, slightly smaller than its cousin, the great reed warbler.

Identification Tips

Upon first glance, one might confuse the Basra reed warbler with the great reed warbler due to their similar appearances. However, upon closer inspection, one will notice that the Basra reed warbler has distinctly whiter underparts. Its bill is also a telling feature—narrower, longer, and more pointed than that of its great reed warbler counterpart.


The Basra reed warbler is a bird of the wetlands, favoring extensive beds of papyrus and reeds. It thrives in aquatic vegetation, whether in the midst of shallow, fresh, or brackish waters, and it shows a preference for dense reedbeds.


This warbler is an endemic breeder to Southwestern Iran, East and southern Iraq, Kuwait, and Israel. During the winter months, it migrates to East Africa. It is an exceptionally rare sight in Europe, where it is considered a very rare vagrant.


The Basra reed warbler is known to frequent thickets and bushland during its migration or wintering periods. In 2007, it was discovered breeding in northern Israel, indicating a possible expansion or shift in its breeding range.

Song & calls

The call of the Basra reed warbler is a gruff "chaar," distinguishable by its depth, resonating more profoundly than that of a reed warbler.

Conservation status

The species is currently listed as Endangered. The drainage of the Mesopotamian marshes during the 1980s and 1990s, leading to the near destruction of its native habitat, has placed the Basra reed warbler in a precarious position, fighting for survival as its world diminishes around it.

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More Reed Warblers & Allies

A photo of a Paddyfield Warbler (Acrocephalus agricola)

Paddyfield Warbler

Acrocephalus agricola
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