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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Warblers /Sylviidae

Great Reed-warbler/Acrocephalus arundinaceus - Adult

L 16-20 cm. Breeds in tall, dense and preferably extensive reedbeds, often on edge by gaps or open water; if necessary makes do with smaller reedbeds, e.g. along canals and dykes. Summer visitor (mostly May-Aug in N of range), winters in tropical Africa. Basket-shaped nest woven around several strong reed stems at medium height above water.
IDENTIFICATION: In many respects a larger version of Reed Warbler, similar in colour (brown above, buff-white below) and with same habitat and same type of song. Apart from size and gruffer voice, differs in: proportionately somewhat larger head and bill (thick and long like thrush’s); almost always dark spot at tip of lower mandible (never shown by Reed); slightly longer tail; somewhat longer primary projection (with clear white tips to primaries); often slightly more distinct, broader pale supercilium and on average darker lores and eye-stripe; often a trifle paler and more grey-brown nape/hindneck. At closest range, a few fine grey streaks sometimes visible on lower throat/upper breast. Legs pinky-brown or brown-grey. Sexes alike. - Adult late summer: Usually somewhat worn, with lighter brown-grey cast above and whiter below. Primaries worn, brownish-grey. - Juvenile: Plumage uniformly fresh, warm rusty-brown above and buffish below. Primaries fresh, dark with pale tips.
VOICE: Call less often heard, a coarse clicking with slightly ‘thick’ voice, ‘kshack’, or with more audible r-sound, ‘krrack’. In anxiety, utters hard rolling ‘krrrrr’. Song roughly as Reed’s in composition, with various repeated hoarse notes, but is very loud, far-carrying, recognized by gruff, croaking voice and by recurring series of repeated shrill falsetto sounds, e.g. ‘trr trr karra-karra-karra krie-krie trr-trr-kie-kie’.

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