Locustellidae is a newly recognized family of small insectivorous songbirds ("warblers"), formerly placed in the Old World warbler "wastebin" family. It contains the grass-warblers, grassbirds, and the Bradypterus "bush-warblers". These birds occur mainly in Eurasia, Africa, and the Australian region. The family name is sometimes given as Megaluridae, but Locustellidae has priority.[1]

The species are smallish birds with tails that are usually long and pointed; the scientific name of the genus Megalurus in fact means "the large-tailed one" in plain English. They are less wren-like than the typical shrub-warblers (Cettia) but like these drab brownish or buffy all over. They tend to be larger and slimmer than Cettia though, and many have bold dark streaks on wings and/or underside. Most live in scrubland and frequently hunt food by clambering through thick tangled growth or pursuing it on the ground; they are perhaps the most terrestrial of the "warblers". Very unusual for Passeriformes, beginning evolution towards flightlessness is seen in some taxa.[2]

Among the "warbler and babbler" superfamily Sylvioidea, the Locustellidae are closest to the Malagasy warblers, another newly-recognized (and hitherto unnamed) family; the Black-capped Donacobius (Donacobius atricapillus) is an American relative derived from the same ancestral stock and not a wren as was long believed.[1]



  1. ^ a b Alström et al. (2006)
  2. ^ del Hoyo et al. (2006)
  3. ^ At least one species - Victorin's Warbler - does not belong in the Locustellidae at all (Beresford et al., 2005).
  4. ^ John H. Boyd III (January 3, 2012). "SYLVOIDEA I: Stenostiridae through Loucestellidae". TiF Checklist. Retrieved 3-07-2020.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)


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