Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus scirpaceus


The Reed Warbler is a medium-sized warbler of reedbeds. A summer visitor breeding in the UK, it weaves its nest as a sling between two or three reed stems; the female lays three to five eggs in it. Forming monogamous pairs, both parents raise the chicks, bringing them insects to eat. Reed Warblers are common victims of brood-parasitism by Cuckoos. Having laid an egg in the nest while the parents are unaware, the female Cuckoo leaves the intruding chick to hatch. The Cuckoo chick pushes all the other eggs and chicks out of the nest so its foster, Reed Warbler parents can concentrate solely on bringing it food.

How to identify

Reed Warblers are a plain, warm brown above and buff below, with a pale throat and a short, pale stripe in front of the eye. You are more likely to hear their 'churring' song, than see them amongst the reeds.

Where to find it

Widespread summer visitor to lowland central and southern England and Wales. Rarer in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

To help wetland birds such as the Reed Warbler, The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves sympathetically - scrub clearance, ditch and scrape digging and reedbed planting and cutting are just some of the management techniques used to benefit wildlife. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Reed Warbler
Latin name
Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Tits, goldcrests and warblers
Length: 13cm Wingspan: 19cm Weight: 13g Average Lifespan: 3 years
Conservation status