Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 281,000-474,000 pairs, which equates to 561,000-949,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.65% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 860,000-1,460,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
In Europe the overall trend from 1980-2011 was stable, based on provisional data for 27 countries from the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (EBCC/RSPB/BirdLife/Statistics Netherlands). The trend between 2000 and 2012 was unknown (BirdLife International 2015).
This species inhabits marshes, fens, lake edges and reedbeds over shallow water. In Russia, it also occupies tall grass and bushes along riverbanks, and reedy canals within sparse forest. Generally it is found in lowlands up to c. 630 m in central Europe. In the African non-breeding quarters the species occurs in marsh and swamp vegetation, reeds, reedmace (Typha) and rank grass, also rice fields, sugar cane, gardens and in thickets of Salvadora persica by springs (Pearson 2006). Egg-laying begins from late April in western and central Europe and from mid-April in southern Europe (Snow and Perrins 1998). The nest is a deep cup, loosely built from dead water-plant leaves and grass stems and lined with finer leaves and plant fibres. It is well concealed less than 50 cm above water or swampy ground in aquatic vegetation. Clutches are two to six eggs. It feeds principally on insects but also takes spiders (Araneae) and small molluscs. The species is migratory; the whole population migrates to Africa (Pearson 2006).
The species is well-known for short term population fluctuations. These probably result from habitat changes such as drainage and natural changes in water level as well as weather conditions in its African winter quarters (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997). Marsh habitats are vulnerable to human interference such as drainage, and natural changes such as water-level changes and vegetation succession (Pearson 2006). The species may also be vulnerable to future climate change (Maggini et al. 2014).
Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. Bern Convention Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within Europe.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Due to the likely increase in dry periods as a result of climate change, wetland habitats need to be specifically conserved and their water balance should be managed appropriately (Maggini et al. 2014).
Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Ashpole, J
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Locustella luscinioides. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/03/2023.