Australian Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus australis

Australian Reed Warbler. Photo: John Gitsham

Every autumn the reed beds fall silent as the Australian Reed Warblers head north for the warmer climes of northern Australia, and every spring they burst into life with the return of the songsters. Each male defends his small patch of reeds from neighbouring males with complex songs issued at high volume, at the same time advertising his territory to any females who may be interested.

Australian Reed Warbler. Photo: Keith Wiliams

They live on small insects, spiders and other invertebrates found by foraging in the dense undergrowth.

Breeding is from September to February, whenever singing is at its height. Double brooding is common. The nest is a cylindrical cup constructed of reed leaves and other water side vegetation mainly by the female.


Reedwarblers are easy to hear, but more difficult to see. Look for a small (16-17 cm), pale brown bird, darker brown above and lighter, more buffy underneath. It has a pale buff supercilium underlined by a dusky brown eye stripe extending through the lores to the bill. Sexes are alike.

Where to find it

Reedwarblers are potentially to be found wherever there are reeds – on the banks of rivers, streams, farm dams and inland springs.

Only the nominate race is found in South Australia (A. a. australis)