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Grasshopper Warbler

Locustella naevia

Ceolaire casarnaí

Status
: Widespread summer visitor to Ireland from April to September.

Conservation Concern: Amber-listed due to a continued decline in the breeding range and population. The European population has been evaluated as Secure.

Identification: Due to its secretive habits, Grasshopper Warblers are rarely seen. About the same size as a Dunnock. Ages and sexes appear largely the same. In general, a rather non-descript beige-brown all over. Has a faint buff-coloured supercilium and white eyering. Has some dark spotting on nape and back, as well as dark centres to wing feathers. The undertail coverts are spotted black. Infrequently, Grasshopper Warblers have a strong yellowish wash to the underparts ("yellow morph").

Similar Species: Other Warblers.

Call: Most calls rather infrequently heard. The song (April, May and June) is an odd mechanical reel reminiscent of a fishing line being paid out.

Diet: Grasshopper Warblers feed on insects and other invertebrates.

Breeding: Widespread but nowhere common. Grasshopper Warblers breed in a variety of marginal habitats, such as young conifer plantations, rough farmland and the edges of bogs. Very secretive and its presence is usually only noted when the male is heard singing.

Wintering: Winters in tropical west Africa.

Where to See: Widespread in Ireland. The best way to see a Grasshopper Warbler is to patiently scan likely song posts when hearing a singing bird. The intensity of the song varies with the direction the bird is pointing its head and this can be useful in finding it.

Monitored by: Countryside Bird Survey.

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