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A photo of a Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)
Moustached Warbler

Moustached Warbler

Acrocephalus melanopogon

The Moustached Warbler, Acrocephalus melanopogon, is a medium-sized member of the Old World warbler family. It measures between 12 to 13.5 cm in length, presenting a finely streaked brown back and a contrasting white underbelly. The bird is characterized by a flattened forehead, a prominent whitish supercilium, and grey ear coverts. Its bill is strong and pointed, an adaptation for its insectivorous diet.

Identification Tips

Adult Moustached Warblers can be identified by their size, which is slightly larger than the similar Sedge Warbler. Both sexes are identical in plumage, with young birds being more heavily streaked and displaying markings on the breast. Observers should look for the distinctive whitish eyebrow stripe and listen for their melodious song, which can aid in identification.


This species thrives in upright aquatic vegetation such as reeds and sedge, often found in marshy environments.


The Moustached Warbler breeds in southern Europe and southern temperate Asia, with some populations in north-west Africa. It exhibits partial migratory behavior, with birds from south-west Europe being resident, those from south-east Europe wintering in the Mediterranean breeding range, and the Asiatic race migrating to Arabia, India, and Pakistan.


The Moustached Warbler is typically monogamous and constructs its nest over water among reeds, rushes, or in a bush. It is known to lay 3 to 6 eggs from mid-April, which are then incubated for 14 to 15 days.

Song & Calls

The song of the Moustached Warbler is a fast, melodious composition, softer than those of its relatives. It includes mimicry and acrocephaline whistles, with phrases reminiscent of the nightingale. Unlike the Sedge Warbler, it does not sing in flight.


Breeding occurs in aquatic environments where the bird builds its nest over water. The Moustached Warbler is usually monogamous, with the female laying 3 to 6 eggs that are incubated for about two weeks.

Similar Species

The Moustached Warbler can be confused with the Sedge Warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus, but can be distinguished by its larger size, the shape of the supercilium, and its unique song.

Diet and Feeding

An insectivorous bird, the Moustached Warbler also includes water snails in its diet, foraging within its marshy habitat.

Conservation status

The Moustached Warbler is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it does not face any immediate threat of extinction.

Moustached Warbler Sounds

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