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Eurasian River Warbler - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by nick scarle
Poland, June 2006
Locustella fluviatilis


14 cm (5½ in)

  • Dark grey-brown above
  • Whitish-grey below
  • Blurry streaks on throat and chest
  • Olive tinged greyish brown flanks
  • Short buffish supercilium
  • Pale eye ring
  • Broad rounded tail
  • Dark undertail with white tips
  • Pink legs
  • Dark bill

Sexes similar
Juveniles may show more yellowy underparts


Breeds from central Germany east to the Urals and north-central Russia, ranges north to southern Finland and south to the Black Sea. Range has expanded westwards during the second half of the 20th century and has bred in Denmark and Sweden. Also spreading southwards and now breeds widely in Bulgaria.

Winters mainly in the eastern half of southern Africa, leaving from the end of July-August with bulk of the population passing through southeast Europe in late August-mid September. Returns to breeding areas in May.

Vagrants recorded north to Svalbard and Iceland, Britain, France and Belgium, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland, Italy, Egypt and Kuwait, Malta, Madeira and northwest Africa.
British records (c.30) were formerly mostly in autumn and often on Shetland but in recent years there has been an increase in mainland records in spring and summer which have included singing males. With the expansion of range in northern Europe this suggests a breeding attempt may well occur in the near future. Has probably attempted breeding in Belgium in recent years.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Densely wooded swamps and thick scrub along rivers, streams and canals, sometimes in parks and damp orchards.


Sings all day from the top of a bush


The diet includes insects.


It nests in a tussock or on the ground in moist undergrowth; 5-7 eggs are laid.


Song: is similar to, but softer and slower, than Grasshopper Warbler
Call: low and harsh zrr and tschick


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  4. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6

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