Birds – The Grasshopper Warbler

Birds – The Grasshopper Warbler

The Grasshopper Warbler

The Grasshopper Warbler male

In this article we will see: “The Grasshopper Warbler “, birds, diverse and captivating, grace our skies with their melodies. From vibrant plumage to impressive flights, they captivate with endless wonders.

Birds – The Grasshopper Warbler

Brief Background

Length: 12 cm; folded wing: 58-68 mm; wingspan: about 20 cm; tail: 50-59 mm; beak: 12 mm. Weight: 14 g.

Appearance and Behaviour

Adults: Dark olive-brown upperparts with black spots, fine on the head and wide on the back, forming interrupted longitudinal lines; flight feathers edged with pale brown; underparts grayish tinged with pale yellow, varying in dominance; dark brown beak except at the base; brown-black eyes; gray-pink legs.

Although not particularly shy, the Grasshopper Warbler is not easily observed. It hesitates to fly long distances and avoids staying in open areas. Adorned with plumage that blends perfectly into vegetation, this bird adds to its natural camouflage with deliberately secretive behavior and mysterious movements.

However, with perseverance, one might have a chance encounter and notice its wide, rounded tail that characterizes this family of passerines so well, along with their close relatives, the reed warblers and other Phragmites warblers.

The Grasshopper Warbler

The Grasshopper Warbler female

Being discreet, the Grasshopper Warbler rarely leaves its preferred habitat, which consists of low-growing or even prostrate vegetation. It typically establishes itself in the dense tangle of brambles, wild grasses, scrublands, and abandoned clearings, often in proximity to water or a humid area, although it is not an absolute requirement.

The Grasshopper Warbler's voice sample

While the Grasshopper Warbler avoids being seen, it is not afraid to be heard. From thickets where the bird maneuvers with surprising ease, sustained chirping of grasshoppers can be heard, especially in May, lasting from 30 seconds to over 2 and a half minutes. The male delivers these phrases with its tail held straight, from a slightly elevated position, and they can be repeated almost continuously from dawn to dusk or even later into the night.

Food of: The Grasshopper Warbler

The Grasshopper Warbler feeds on the small prey found in its habitat, including insects, larvae, spiders, and butterflies.

Reproduction of: The Grasshopper Warbler

Upon returning from migration starting in April, males establish territories and maintain them until females arrive. After courtship displays, the two adults build their nest together. Carefully concealed within vegetation, the nest is a fairly deep cup placed directly on the ground or attached at a height of less than 20 cm. It is constructed with dead leaves, twigs, and moss, and the interior is lined with dry grass.

The Grasshopper Warbler's eggs

The Grasshopper Warbler’s eggs

The 6 eggs are laid in May, with some clutches starting at the end of April. The eggs have a pale pink background, sometimes tinged with gray, covered in reddish and purplish spots, especially at the larger end. Average size: 13 x 17 mm; Weight: 1.7 g. Both adults take turns during the 15-day incubation period. Afterward, the parents continue to care for the young, which leave the nest at 11 days old and complete their growth in nearby bushes. After the fledging of the first brood, many couples start a second clutch.

Migration

Between August and September, Grasshopper Warblers leave Europe and fly directly south. The nocturnal migration of these birds is still poorly understood, and many aspects of their journey, as well as the purpose of their presumed travel, from the northwest coasts of Africa to the southern Sahara, remain enigmatic.

Distribution

The Grasshopper Warbler breeds from the northern Iberian Peninsula to the southern Baltic region and from Ireland to Mongolia.

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A final word

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