Streaked scrub-warbler (Scotocerca inquieta)

Streaked scrub-warbler vocalising
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Streaked scrub-warbler fact file

Streaked scrub-warbler description

GenusScotocerca (1)

A desert-dwelling bird, the streaked scrub-warbler (Scotocerca inquieta) has pale sandy brown plumage that blends in with its arid habitat. The streaked scrub-warbler also has a prominent blackish stripe across each eye and dark streaks adorning the breast (2). It has short, rounded wings (3) and a long, white-tipped tail of ten feathers (2) which is continuously raised and jerked from side to side (3). Both the legs and the base of the bill have a yellow or pinkish colouring (2), and bristles protrude over the nostrils, which is likely to be an adaptation to exclude windblown sand (3).

Male and female streaked scrub-warblers look alike, but juveniles are paler and less striped (2).

Although there is a considerable variation in calls between those streaked scrub-warblers that inhabit Africa and those that occur in Asia, the male tends to sing a trilled, musical song, and breeding pairs maintain contact with ‘chreet’ and ‘chiii’ calls (2).

Dromoïque du désert.
Average length: 10 cm (2)
6 - 10 g (2)

Streaked scrub-warbler biology

The streaked scrub-warbler’s diet compromises insects, caterpillars, beetles, larvae, and other arthropods (2). However, during winter seeds can dominate its diet (4). It mainly forages on or near the ground in leaf litter (2), typically underneath and around small bushes (3). Although the streaked scrub-warbler typically forages individually or in pairs, in winter it has been recorded in mixed species flocks of up to 60 strong (2).

Breeding takes place between January and June, depending on the location (2). The male and female streaked scrub-warblers share the task of nest building, creating a dome-shaped nest of twigs, grass and plant material, which is lined with feathers, hair and wool (2). The nest tends to be situated in extremely thorny bushes, with some having two entrances to allow for quick escape from predators (2). Each clutch contains 2 to 5 eggs which are incubated for 13 to 15 days (2).


Streaked scrub-warbler range

The vast range of the streaked scrub-warbler spans North Africa, through Arabia, into western Asia (3). It has been found at altitudes of up to 3,500 metres in Yemen (2).


Streaked scrub-warbler habitat

The streaked scrub-warbler inhabits arid scrub, grasslands, sandy plains with low shrubs, sandy woodland and rocky slopes (2) (3).


Streaked scrub-warbler status

The streaked scrub-warbler is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Streaked scrub-warbler threats

Although the streaked scrub-warbler population in Israel decreased in the 1980s, possibly as a consequence of habitat loss (2), this bird has an extremely large range and is therefore not currently considered to be threatened with extinction (5).


Streaked scrub-warbler conservation

There are currently no known conservation measures in place for the streaked scrub-warbler.

Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is a principal sponsor of ARKive. EAD is working to protect and conserve the environment as well as promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

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This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


A major grouping of animals that includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids. All arthropods have paired jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton).
Kept warm so that development is possible.
Stage in an animal’s lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.


  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2010)
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2006) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. Alström, P., Fjeldså, J., Fregin, S. and Olsson, U. (2011) Gross morphology betrays phylogeny: the scrub warbler Scotocerca inquieta is not a cisticolid. Ibis, 153: 87-97.
  4. Brooks, D.J. (1987). Feeding observations on birds in north Yemen. Sandgrouse, 9: 115-9120.
  5. BirdLife International (November, 2010)

Image credit

Streaked scrub-warbler vocalising  
Streaked scrub-warbler vocalising

© Hanne & Jens Eriksen /

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