[order] Passeriformes | [family] Sylviidae | [latin] Cisticola juncidis | [UK] Fan-Tailed Warbler | [FR] Cisticole des joncs | [DE] Cistensänger | [ES] Buitrón Común | [IT] Beccamoschino comune | [NL] Graszanger

Graszanger determination

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Except for Goldcrest, smallest of west Palearctic Sylviidae, with stumpy fan-tail. Essentially buff, with heavy dark streaks above and paler throat and vent, pale area round eye, and black and white tips to tail-feathers. Sexes similar, little seasonal variation.

In west Palearctic, habitat lies primarily in Mediterranean and neighbouring warm temperate lowlands, both continental and oceanic, but basically a bird of tropical grasslands, often those subject to destructive seasonal fires. Belongs to the savanna rather than the swamp species, yet occupies wet as well as dry habitats, almost always, however, dominated by grasses or other plants, not stiff or woody, and below 1 m tall.

Cisticola juncidis is a widespread resident across much of southern Europe, which accounts for less than 5% of its global range. Its European breeding population is large (>230,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although the trend of the Spanish population during 1990-2000 was unknown, the species remained stable across the vast majority of its European range.

Chiefly insects, taken on or near ground. Typically forages in and around bases of grassland tussocks, also recorded feeding on ground by walking around in manner of pipit Anthus. Occasionally catches flying insects by sallying technique.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 530,000-2,400,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but there is evidence of a population increase (Urban et al. 1997), and so the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Breeds April-August in Spain and North Africa, April-September in Normandie, Apilr-October in Japan. Nest site is built low down in marshy vegetation, typically clumps of grass, rushes, etc. Nest, elongated pear or bottle-shaped structure with entrance at or towards top, made of grasses bound together with cobwebs, lined with more cobwebs, flowers,hair, and down. 4-6 eggs are laid, incubation 12-13 days by female only.

Chiefly sedentary but dispersive; also eruptive, with northern limits of range varying with temperature fluctuations; evidence of regular migration in western Mediterranean. Eruptive movements result in sharp fluctuations in numbers: e.g. in Camargue, where suddenly abundant after drastic decline due to hard winters, and on Catalonian coast (north-east Spain), where very numerous in some years, scarce in others; similar fluctuations reported in Israel. Eruptions may also lead to rapid extension of range, notably in western Europe in early 1970s.