Streaked scrub-warbler (Scotocerca inquieta)

French: Dromoïque du désert
GenusScotocerca (1)
SizeAverage length: 10 cm (2)
Weight6 - 10 g (2)

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

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).

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

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).

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).

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

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This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  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)