This poorly known warbler has been uplisted from Vulnerable on the basis of the declining frequency of already very scarce records, suggesting that its population is smaller than previously thought. It qualifies as Endangered because it is thought to have a very small population, which is in decline owing to habitat loss and degradation in its wintering grounds, and possibly in its breeding range. Its breeding grounds are in urgent need of discovery.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Distribution and populationAcrocephalus sorghophilus
12-13 cm. Small, lightly streaked warbler. Pale buff upperparts with faint dark streaking on mantle and scapulars and bright buff rump, tinged rufous. Faintly streaked crown with prominent black lateral crown-stripe over broad creamy-buff supercilium. Buff-ochre underparts with whiter throat and belly. Similar spp. Black-browed Reed Warbler A. bistrigiceps has uniform olive-brown upperparts, lacking streaking on crown, mantle and scapulars.
has occurred on passage in Liaoning, Hebei, Hubei, Jiangsu, Fujian and Beijing in eastern China
, and Taiwan
(China), where there are eight confirmed records (Yang Liu in litt.
2007). There are winter records from the Philippines
, where it is very localised and rare. There are records from Candaba and Dalton Pass (Luzon), although there have been no records from Dalton Pass since 1970 and the species has been very scarce at Candaba since the mid-1990s (P. Round et al
. in litt
. 2008), despite increasing observer effort (D. Allen in litt
. 2012). There has also been an increase in observer effort at migration watch sites in eastern China, but records remain scant (D. Allen in litt
. 2012). It is presumed to breed in north-eastern China (probably in Hebei, Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces) and adjacent areas of Russia, namely the Amur region (Kennerley and Pearson 2010). There was a relatively recent record of a singing male at Muraviovka (Russia) (P. Fabien in litt
. 2004), although a subsequent search of the site failed to find any individuals (P. Leader in litt.
2007). There have been very few records of this species on passage since the late 1990s, with only about five noted in Beijing and Hebei during migration seasons in the four-year period 2008-2011 (Yang Liu in litt
. 2012). The frequency of records is declining, with 18 sightings of a total of 69 birds in 1981-1990, compared with only 11 sightings of 22 birds in 1991-2007 (Round and Allen 2010).Population justification
The global population is assumed to be very small, i.e. fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, based on the paucity of recent records (Round and Allen 2010); it is placed in the band for 1,000-2,499 mature individuals, equivalent to 1,500-3,800 individuals in total.Trend justification
A moderate and continuing population decline is suspected, owing to the paucity and declining frequency of recent records (Round and Allen 2010) and on-going habitat destruction in its wintering grounds (D. Allen in litt
On passage, it has been recorded in millet crops and marshland, and in winter it occurs in reed and grass marshes, often near water. It potentially uses willow scrub and reedbeds in its breeding range (Kennerley and Pearson 2010). It probably feeds largely on invertebrates, and may also consume seeds, although this requires confirmation (D. Allen in litt
. 2012). Spring passage in China is from late May to early June, with autumn passage from late August to early September. All Philippine records are from September to June.Threats
Habitat destruction on the wintering grounds is likely to be causing a decline. At Candaba, almost all marshland has been destroyed through conversion to rice cultivation and fishponds. In addition, local people there burn reeds and other native vegetation to encourage new shoots for livestock to graze on (P. Round et al
. in litt
. 2008). The banks of Laguna de Bay are being occupied by settlers and factories so that the reedbeds are becoming highly fragmented and greatly reduced in area and at Bukal, Laguna, most reedbed has been drained for conversion to poultry-processing factories. The conversion of wetlands for agricultural use in north-eastern China may also be contributing to a population decline (Kennerley and Pearson 2010).Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. All bird species are legally protected in the Philippines. Candaba Marsh has been proposed as a Ramsar Site and education material has been prepared; however, most habitat there has now been converted (D. Allen in litt
. 2012). A four-day survey by a team from the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) and the Wetland Trust was conducted at Candaba in late April 2008, with the aim of locating the species; however, it was not recorded and the survey documented a lack of extensive suitable habitat (Round 2008, P. Round et al
. in litt
. 2008). The species had been recorded a few days before the survey, representing the first confirmed record there for seven years. A mist-netting survey was carried out at Candaba and other wetland sites in March 2009 in which one individual of this species was trapped and subsequently appears to have been the first published record of moult in A. sorghophilus
(Round and Allen 2010). An expedition to Dalton Pass in October 2009 did not record the species (P. Round per
Sykes 2009). WCBP have been working to encourage the local government of Candaba to raise awareness amongst local communities and stop the burning of vegetation (M. C. Lu per
P. Round et al
. in litt
. 2008).Conservation Actions Proposed
Attempt to locate the breeding areas in north-eastern China and adjacent areas of Russia, particularly using call-playback; survey wetlands in the Philippines to try and locate further wintering sites; and initiate a new ringing programme at Dalton Pass and other migrant trapping locations. Investigate whether marshland in the vicinity of Candaba should be included under a Ramsar designation. List it as a protected species in China.
BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.
Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.
Kennerley, P.; Pearson, D. 2010. Reed and bush warblers. Christopher Helm, London.
Round, P. D. 2008. Reed warbler survey in the Philippines. Bird Conservation Society of Thailand Bulletin 25(3): 13.
Round, P. D.; Allen, D. 2010. A record of active moult in the Streaked Reed Warbler Acrocephalus sorghophilus. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 130(2): 145-146.
Sykes, B. 2009. OBC conservation: news update and requests for practical help. BirdingASIA 12: 107-108.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species
View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Crosby, M., Gilroy, J., Mahood, S., Peet, N. & Taylor, J.
Allen, D., Bajarias, M., Fabien, P., Jensen, A., Johnson, R., Leader, P., Round, P. & Yang, L.
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Acrocephalus sorghophilus. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 01/05/2016.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 01/05/2016.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000)
Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004)
Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.