Inhabitant near Nasser-dam: Clamorous Reed-Warbler

StentorrohrsängerIn the early morning, activity can quickly be heard in the reeds in front of the lake shore. The Clamorous Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus stentoreus) can be heard from afar. In fact, wherever the species occurs, it is most conspicuous for its powerful song, which is similar to that of other great reed warblers – such as our Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) – and can be heard both at night and during the day. They can be heard even in the wintering areas. A photo would be a nice contribution to the WP portfolio.

The Clamorous Reed-Warbler has a wide but quite patchy distribution in central and southern Asia, with an small occurrence in Africa, where it lives in Egypt and Sudan, through the Nile Valley and in various desert oases, and along the Red Sea coast. Population then it is spread over the southern Levant, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and southwest China to Java and Borneo. Further to the east and south, Clamorous Reed-Warbler is being replaced by the Australian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus australis), formerly considered conspecific. Throughout most of its range, the Clamorous Reed-Warbler is normally associated with freshwater marshes and wetland vegetation, sometimes also with crop fields. However, in many places, including much of the Arabian Peninsula as well as parts of the Indian subcontinent, the species is coast-bound. The species likes to appear in mangrove vegetation. The Clamorous Reed-Warbler is a fairly typical great Reed Warbler with a fairly prominent whitish brow stripe, the superciliary, in an otherwise somewhat subtle facial pattern. It features a warm, olive-brown upperpart and wing-coverts of the same color with a reddish tinged rump and uppertail-coverts and a brown tail.

A fairly distinctive dark morph makes up the populations of the southern Levant. The Clamorous Reed-Warbler is largely sedentary in much of its range. However, the populations breeding in Central Asia migrate to the Indian subcontinent in winter.

The species’ nominate subspecies was formerly thought to be endemic to Egypt. It occurs from the Nile Delta and Suez Canal south to Lake Nasser and the wetlands bordering North Sudan. It probably also breeds in some oases in the western desert. However, the warbler was also recently discovered along the Nile in northern Sudan, where the species occurs on several sites along the river between the Egyptian border and the Merowe Dam.

I had already photographed the Clamorous Reed-Warbler, mainly in Sri Lanka. However, when I did some research I found that the Clamorous Reed-Warbler observed there, is the so-called Indian Reed-Warbler. It is probably not all that closely related to the Clamorous Reed-Warbler, which is widespread in the western Palaearctic in Egypt (including the Sinai) and the Levant. The Indian Reed-warbler, on the other hand, occurs from the east of Sudan, through Eritrea, the Arabian Peninsula to the north-east of the Indian subcontinent. The subspecies observed here is either a migratory bird from India or belongs to the subspecies meridionalis which is quite numerous in southern India and especially Sri Lanka.

About 500 km long and up to 40 km wide, the Nasser reservoir in southern Egypt is one of the largest artificial lakes in the world. With its thousands of islands, the body of water is also a protected area of international importance (IBA) and is now “the most important wetland for wintering birds in Egypt”. Data on breeding birds, on the other hand, were missing until recently. More intensive investigations have only recently taken place. These have now shown that the largest heron population in Egypt exists here. In between, a Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath) can also be seen. Hundreds of Yellow-billed Storks (Mycteria ibis) line the banks. African Skimmers (Rynchops flavirostris) occasionally plow through the water. Gull-billed Terns (Sterna nilotica) and Little Terns (Sterna albifrons) nest here in good numbers, well away from previously known breeding grounds. Clamorous Reed-Warblers, which normally breed in the reeds, build their nests in trees here. The African Pied Wagtail (Motacilla aguimp) is a common breeding bird on the banks of ponds and on the lake shore itself. With luck, a typical African species, the Three-banded Plover (Charadrius tricollaris), can also be observed on the banks of artificial fish ponds. In this context, it should be noted that only here in the western Palearctic can Afrotropical species can be regularly observed such as Goliath Heron, Yellow-billed Stork, Three-banded Plover, African Skimmer and African Pied Wagtail.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic.  Trips to remote places like this one to capture images not only of rare birds of western palearctic were very successful. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” very soon. Just give a message, if could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

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