309 Aquatic Warbler
(Acrocephalus paludicola)


11-13cm. Aquatic Warbler is like Sedge Warbler in shape and general appearance; differs as follows: narrow, distinct yellow median crown-stripe (much more prominent and narrower than on any juvenile Sedge); two clear yellow-buff bands along mantle-sides, and heavier black streaking on upperparts; normally paler and more yellowish-white overall impression (but at distance and in evening light nevertheless surprisingly dark and Sedge Warbler-like); pale lores, so supercilium looks broad at front (juveniles and some adults; other adults have slightly darker loral stripe). Silhouette when singing distinctive: tail pointing down, neck extended to the limit with each verse. Sexes alike. Adult almost always has breast and flanks finely streaked, whereas juvenile does not.


In Hungary the Aquatic Warbler breeds on tussocky marshy meadows, wet alkali meadows and sedge meadows in the Hortobágy. With minor fluctuations the breeding population has been steadily increasing since the 1970s. Migrant. Reaches its breeding ground between the end of April and mid-May, and immediately leaves it after the breeding (end of July). Vary rare vagrant apart from its breeding sites in the Hortobágy.

309 Aquatic Warbler pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008