IUCN threat status:

Endangered (EN)

Distribution

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Range Description

Acrocephalus griseldis breeds in the Mesopotamian marshes of south-east Iraq (between Baghdad and Basra, though also observed in 2006 close to the Tigris north of Baghdad)(Maltby 1994; O. Fadhel in litt. 2007) and probably in south-west Iran in the Hawr Al Hawizeh marsh complex of Khuzestan (D. Scott in litt. 2003), two pairs have recently been found breeding in the Hula Valley, Israel (Shanni and Labinger 2007). It winters in Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, south Somalia, south-east Kenya (Urban et al. 1997), east Tanzania, south Malawi (few records) and Mozambique. It is regular on passage in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (where it may breed) (Porter et al. 1996), and one in Syria in April 2006 was most likely a migrant (Yésou et al. 2007). Although presumably still common in the breeding habitat that remains (Maltby 1994), and thought now to be common locally due to re-flooding of the marshes following the fall of Saddam's government, there was massive loss of its shallow, marshy wetland habitat within its breeding range since the 1950s. The maximum area of suitable habitat that is estimated to remain within the main Mesopotamian marshlands is 759 km2 (c.7% of the original marshland area, as of the mid-1970s) (UNEP 2003). At Ngulia ringing station (Kenya), the average decadal ringing total for this species has been declining over the last three decades relative to the average decadal total for all Palearctic passerine migrants (by c.20% per decade) (D. Pearson in litt. 2003). This suggests that a decline of up to 70-80% may have taken place since the 1970s (D. Scott in litt. 2003; M. Evans in litt. 2003). However, the ringing methodology has changed somewhat during this period (D. Pearson verbally 2000, in litt. 2003) and even fewer birds might be expected in Kenya given the very high rate of destruction of the Mesopotamian marshes (D. Pearson in litt. 2003). Following the regeneration of habitat in southern Iraq, surveys indicate that the species increased between 2006 and 2007 (O. Fadhel in litt. 2007), and a total of 180 birds ringed at Ngulia in November-December 2005 was the second highest annual total at the site (R. Porter in litt. 2006), however it is as yet uncertain whether the species has undergone a genuine recovery.

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Source: IUCN

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