Mustached Warbler

In the reeds and rushes, where the water meets the land, a tiny feathered creature flits about with vibrant energy. With its chestnut-brown back and creamy underparts, the Moustached Warbler is a delight to behold for any keen birdwatcher. Its striking features, however, are its signature black “mustache” and bold, white eyebrow stripe that set it apart from its avian peers. This elusive bird, with a captivating beauty and an alluring song, is a wonder of the wetlands, leaving those lucky enough to spot it with a sense of awe and wonder.

Common NameMoustached Warbler
Scientific NameAcrocephalus melanopogon
Colour (s)Brown, grey, and white
Average Length12 – 14 cm
Average Height17 – 20 cm
Weight11 – 14 g
Type of BirdPasserine, perching bird
Origin country (ies)Europe, North Africa, and West Asia
Month it comes to IndiaAugust – March
Location in IndiaWestern India, particularly Gujarat and Rajasthan
IUCN statusLeast Concern


The Mustached Warbler, also known as the Common or Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, is a small passerine bird that belongs to the family of Sylviidae. This elusive bird is known for its distinctive mustache-like streaks that adorn its cheeks, giving it a unique appearance.

The Mustached Warbler is typically around 11 to 12 centimeters in length, with a wingspan of around 18 to 20 centimeters. It weighs between 8 to 12 grams, making it one of the smaller members of its family.

The coloration of the Mustached Warbler is mostly brownish-olive, with a pale grayish-white belly and undertail coverts. Its wings and tail are darker, with a hint of a reddish-brown hue. The mustache-like streaks on its cheeks are a distinctive black color, making it easily recognizable.

Despite its small size, the Mustached Warbler is known for its agility and speed. It can dart through the dense vegetation with ease, making it difficult to spot in the wild. Its flight is characterized by quick, shallow wingbeats and frequent changes in direction, adding to its elusive nature.

Habitat and Food

Mustached Warbler can be found in reed beds, marshes, and other wetland habitats with tall vegetation and abundant insects, which make up the bulk of its diet.

The Mustached Warbler’s breeding habitat must provide suitable nesting sites, which are often located in dense reed beds. These reed beds must be close to open water, which provides a source of food for the adults and their young.

Overall, the Mustached Warbler’s habitat requirements are closely tied to the availability of wetland habitats with tall vegetation, dense understory, and an abundance of insects and other small invertebrates.


The Mustached Warbler (Phylloscopus borealoides) is a small passerine bird that breeds in parts of Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. During the non-breeding season, the Mustached Warbler migrates to wintering grounds in South and Southeast Asia, including India.

The birds typically begin to arrive in India in late August or early September and can be found in the country until around March or early April. During this time, they are primarily found in the northern and northeastern parts of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Arunachal Pradesh.

The purpose of their migration to India is primarily for wintering and resting, as the country provides suitable habitat and food resources for the birds during the colder months. The Mustached Warbler is known to prefer wetlands and marshy areas with tall grass and reeds, and they are often found in or near water bodies such as lakes, ponds, and rivers.

In terms of breeding, the Mustached Warbler breeds in its native range in Central Asia during the summer months, typically between May and July. After the breeding season is over, the birds begin their migration to wintering grounds in South and Southeast Asia, including India.

IUCN Status

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species currently lists the Mustached Warbler as a species of Least Concern, indicating that the species is not currently facing a significant risk of extinction. However, like many bird species that rely on wetland habitats, the Mustached Warbler faces a range of threats related to habitat loss and degradation. 

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