The African migration and wintering grounds of the Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola

Norbert Schäffer, Bruno A. Walther, Kim Gutteridge, Carsten Rahbek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is a clear need for protection of the migration and wintering grounds of the Globally Threatened Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola, but little is known about them and the threats they face. To narrow this gap, a desk study was performed between May 1998 and October 2004. Information on known wintering grounds was sought by means of questionnaires, personal communications, ringing data, publication and internet searches. Results show that the Aquatic Warbler has so far been recorded in nine African countries, but with recent records since 1980 from only five countries (Egypt, Ghana, Mauritania, Morocco and Senegal). All present data suggest that the Aquatic Warbler migrates through north-west Africa in autumn and spring, with the wintering grounds limited to wetlands of western sub-Saharan Africa, with verified records only from Mauritania, Mali, Senegal and Ghana during the months of August to April. The species was almost always found in habitats similar to that of its breeding grounds, i.e. in Carex, Juncus or Phragmites (sedge, rush and reed) associations, but also in dense grasses, shrubs and other vegetation found in freshwater marshes, flooded or wet eadows, and along the edges of backwaters, flood basins, lagoons, lakes, ponds, rivers and wadis. Recent research suggests that at least some Aquatic Warblers may actually winter further south than the present data suggest, in countries such as The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin, or maybe even in so far unexplored wetlands in Central or East Africa. Because wetlands throughout Africa face imminent threats from agricultural and tourist development, more fieldwork is urgently needed to further pinpoint the migration and wintering grounds of the Aquatic Warbler.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-56
Number of pages24
JournalBird Conservation International
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Ghana
wetland
Mauritania
wetlands
Senegal
Western Africa
ringing
backwater
sedge
Guinea-Bissau
Juncaceae
breeding site
Liberia
Sierra Leone
Gambia
Phragmites
Juncus
fieldwork
Benin
marsh

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology

Cite this

The African migration and wintering grounds of the Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola. / Schäffer, Norbert; Walther, Bruno A.; Gutteridge, Kim; Rahbek, Carsten.

In: Bird Conservation International, Vol. 16, No. 1, 03.2006, p. 33-56.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Schäffer, Norbert ; Walther, Bruno A. ; Gutteridge, Kim ; Rahbek, Carsten. / The African migration and wintering grounds of the Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola. In: Bird Conservation International. 2006 ; Vol. 16, No. 1. pp. 33-56.
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