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Species Guide
A photo of a Lanceolated Warbler (Locustella lanceolata)
Lanceolated Warbler

Lanceolated Warbler

Locustella lanceolata

The Lanceolated Warbler (Locustella lanceolata) is a diminutive and elusive Old World warbler, a member of the grass warbler genus Locustella. It is characterized by its streaked brown back and the distinctive whitish grey underparts adorned with small, lance-head shaped streaks, which extend to the undertail. The plumage is similar in both sexes, a common trait among warblers, while juveniles exhibit a slightly yellower hue below.

Identification Tips

Adult Lanceolated Warblers can be identified by their small size and the unique pattern of streaks on their underparts, resembling the shape of a lance's head. These streaks are also present on the undertail. Observers should note the bird's skulking behavior, which can make visual identification challenging.


This species thrives in grasslands interspersed with thicker shrubbery or trees, often favoring the proximity of water in bogs or wet clearings.


The Lanceolated Warbler breeds across a vast range from northeast European Russia to northern Hokkaidō, Japan. It is a migratory bird, spending winters in Southeast Asia. Notably, it is a rare vagrant to western Europe, with Fair Isle, Shetland being one of the prime locations to spot this elusive visitor.


The Lanceolated Warbler is known for its secretive nature, often remaining hidden as it moves through grass and low foliage. It is most likely to be observed when singing, although even then, it remains a challenge to spot.

Song & Calls

The song of the Lanceolated Warbler is a monotonous, mechanical, and insect-like reeling, similar to other species within its genus. This vocalization is often performed at dusk, adding to the bird's enigmatic presence.


During the breeding season, the Lanceolated Warbler lays a clutch of five eggs in a nest carefully concealed within a tussock.

Similar Species

While the Lanceolated Warbler shares its habitat and some behaviors with other warblers, its distinctive streaked underparts and undertail, along with its unique song, help differentiate it from similar species.

Diet and Feeding

As with most warblers, the Lanceolated Warbler is insectivorous, feeding on a variety of insects and small invertebrates.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Lanceolated Warbler as Least Concern, indicating that, at present, there are no immediate threats to its population levels warranting a higher risk category.

Lanceolated Warbler Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Lanceolated Warblers on Birda

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Akharachai Rojbundit
23 Apr 2023 - 6:59am

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