Clamorous Reed-Warbler

The clamorous reed-warbler (Acrocephalus australis) is the outstanding singer of the summer wetlands. It is small, plain, unstreaked olive-brown above with faint pale eyebrows and is fawn-white below. It clings sideways to reed stems and when singing puffs out throat and riaises its crown feathers. The inside of its mouth is yellow.

Its song is a rich melodious string of pbrases heard throughout the day during breeding and often even at night. Also a sharp "t!" alrarm call and a scolding rattle.

It lives in stands of reeds, coombungi, willows and banboos in or beside water areas - lakes, swamps and even park ponds. It feeds mainly on insects and other small invertebrates, also seeds and vegetable matter.

Breeding occurs in September to February. A very deep cup of strips of reed sheaths and other aquatic growth woven round several vertical stems. There are 3-4 eggs.

The clamorous reed-warbler is common and widespread in Australia where reeds and rushes frequent. They usually depart in March and April from the Urrbrae Wetland for warmer regions and return in August. They may winter in the south but are seldom seen as they remain silent. (Contributed by Jo G)