Sound and vision blog

20 February 2023

Recording of the week: A warbler singing in the predawn

This week’s post comes from Cheryl Tipp, Curator of Wildlife and Environmental Sounds.

The Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris) is best known for its remarkable ability to imitate the songs and calls of other species. Its spirited song can contain, on average, imitations of over 70 different species, encountered in both its Eurasian breeding grounds and the densely vegetated areas of southeastern Africa where it spends the winter months.  The male in this recording is in fine voice, producing a rich, varied song that takes centre stage in this nocturnal atmosphere (British Library reference WA 2007/017/001/019).

Listen to Marsh Warbler singing in the predawn

Photo of a marsh warbler perched among reeds. Photo by Stefan Berndtsson

Photo credit: Stefan Berndtsson on Flickr / CC BY 2.0.

The recording was made by Ian Christopher Todd in May 2005 during a recording trip to Hungary. The Marsh Warbler, a summer visitor to the country, was encountered in the valley of Bükkzsérc, situated along the southern border of Hungary’s Bükk National Park. In 2018 the recording was included in a 60 minute wildlife and environmental mix on NTS Radio, British Library Sound Archive – At the Water’s Edge.