Speckled Reed Warbler

Breeding locations of Speckled Reed Warbler Acrocephalus sorghophilus a mystery; probably in wetlands in Hebei, Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang, as well as in Russian Far East. Winters Philippines, mainly Luzon. ID & COMPARISON The only streaked Acrocephalus in eastern China. Very similar to Sedge Warbler A. schoenobaenus, which breeds in Xinjiang and is unlikely vagrant to eastern China; but as Speckled Reed Warbler is recorded so rarely, birders viewing a possible Speckled Reed Warbler should determine first whether it is Sedge Warbler. Has bold head pattern, characterized by long, broad, sandy supercilium bordered above by a black crown-stripe. Crown, nape, mantle, and scapulars sandy brown, with fine blackish streaking. Rump and uppertail coverts reddish-brown and unstreaked. Tail reddish-brown. Blackish centers to tertials and wing coverts contrast with paler fringes. Underparts mainly buffish-white, with cleaner white chin, throat, and undertail coverts and buffier flanks. Sedge Warbler larger, has weaker streaking on mantle and stronger streaking on crown, and is darker above. Black-browed Reed Warbler A. bistrigiceps lacks streaking and has darker, browner, and less contrasting upperparts. BARE PARTS Bill brown above, yellow below; feet grey. VOICE Song typical of genus, quieter than Oriental Reed Warbler A. orientalis. — Craig Brelsford


shanghaibirding.com covers most of the species in China in the family Acrocephalidae. Click any link:

Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Oriental Reed Warbler A. orientalis
Clamorous Reed Warbler A. stentoreus
Black-browed Reed Warbler A. bistrigiceps
Moustached Warbler A. melanopogon
Sedge Warbler A. schoenobaenus
Speckled Reed Warbler A. sorghophilus
Blunt-winged Warbler A. concinens
Manchurian Reed Warbler A. tangorum
Paddyfield Warbler A. agricola
Blyth’s Reed Warbler A. dumetorum
Eurasian Reed Warbler A. scirpaceus
Thick-billed Warbler Arundinax aedon
Booted Warbler Iduna caligata
Sykes’s Warbler I. rama
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler I. pallida


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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