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Warbler, sedge

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Johan van Rensburg
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Warbler, sedge

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:35 pm

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

Sedge warblers are easy to identify by sight. The broad white eyebrow is much bolder than in any other warbler in our region while the streaked upperparts are also a unique characteristic. They are a successful specie with a world-wide population in excess of 20 million birds.

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Large view

Because of their numbers and migrating habits, they are very popular birds with ringers at either end of their migration range. Ringers always harbour hope of getting a bird in their mist nets that had been ringed on the other end of the world.

Sedge Warblers are night migrants. The entire breeding population of sedge warblers winters in Africa south of the Sahara, leaving Europe from late August on. They leave their wintering grounds for their breeding ranges again in March, arriving from early in April. Large fat reserves are needed prior to departure. Some double their normal weight when fuelling up for migration. Lighter birds are forced to make the journey in several shorter parts. The migration is a remarkable achievement, entailing a flight of some 4000 kilometres. In the most favourable conditions, including tail winds, such a journey entails a flight time of between 75 and 95 hours and can be over in 14 to 21 days.

The sedge warbler mainly eats insects but some plant material like berries are taken, often low down in dense vegetation, usually near water. Feeding techniques include gleaning insects from vegetation while perched or sometimes the bird grabs airborne insects as it flies between perches. Sedge Warblers take advantage of the low temperatures around dusk and dawn when their prey is less mobile.

The Sedge Warbler is good mimic, and introduces phrases into its song in random, so it never sings the same song twice; those males with the widest range of phrases attract the most matings from females.

Its typical lifespan is two years, but the oldest bird on record is from a ring recovery at 7yr 11m.
671 Latest lifer: Black coucal

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Lizet Grobbelaar
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Re: Warbler, sedge

Unread postby Lizet Grobbelaar » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:57 pm

Thanks Johan, interesting write-up!

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Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Mads » Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:49 pm

Hi everybody!! I have a friend living in Nossob in Kgalagadi... She needs identification on thid birdie... She photographed it in her garden.... (How lucky can you be???) :shock: I had a quick look and think it should be a willow warbler any other ideas??? :hmz:

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Thanks for the help!!! :pray:
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Lizet Grobbelaar
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Lizet Grobbelaar » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:00 pm

(Europene) Sedge Warbler - the obvious pale eyebrow and black streaked head.

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Mads » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:27 am

Hi Lizet and Caracal!

I also thought at first that it should be sedge warbler , but because the habitat and distribution is SOOO wrong, I decided that it can not be!!! :doh: :wall: ... but here is the evidence!! :big_eyes:

Thanks for the trouble. Please read the thread I added about the white eye in Nossob.... Funny things seen this year!!!

I wonder if the rainfall or winds causes this.... :huh:
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Caracal » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:44 am

Oh well I still am ....and always will be confused with these little birds :slap:
According to my books I would definitely go with Willow Warbler as opposed to Sedge Warbler....but having never seen any of the above birds my opinion is best ignored :D
I will be in Nossob from 28th - 31st Dec...I shall look out for these "lost" birds. :thumbs_up:

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby JOL » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:57 am

Hi guys ,

Very interesting photo, Mads!

I have to agree with Lizet , and on this one I have no doubts at all - it is way of for a willow warbler! The sedge warbler is a pretty common bird (and WW is very common) here in Northern Europe , and of all the acrocephalus warblers this is not only the easiest to ID , it is also one of the few who seems to like bushes just as well as reed and sedge. So while the location might be somewhat unusual , the habitat isn't really "wrong" - it might also be a case of what kind of habitat it can actually find in this particular place.

Cheers
Jon

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Mads
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Mads » Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:26 am

Thanks Caracal and Jol!!

That is why I love the forum!! You can learn something every day!! In SA I have only encountered them in reedbeds!! So it is news to me!! Thanks!! Actually I could not believe my eyes!!! ... in the middle of the Kalahari!! I have ringed both, but thought maybe the colour on the photo is playing with me!!

Caracal I have asked my friend to join us on the forum!! So hopefully.... Maybe you can meet with her while in Nossob??

Have a wonderful day!
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Re: Warbler, sedge

Unread postby DuQues » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:35 am

These birds are summer visitors in Europe, so I can add photos taken in The Netherlands. 8)
An adult:

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And a juvenile, which you won't get in SA.
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They are very bad birds for photography! For some reason they like flying just above the reeds, and after a few meters dive between the reeds again.
Luckily the reeds here are green, and they are brown jobs, making spotting them a lot easier than between the brown reeds in southern africa.
Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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Re: Warbler, sedge

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:47 am

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