Broad-tailed Warbler


The Fan-Tailed Grassbird - also known as the Broad-Tailed Warbler - is a warbler with a diagnostically wide tail, known for its Warbler-like secrecy and skulking and dull coloration, all making it a highly sought-after sighting for Birders. Junior Gabela can help you connect with this secretive bird.


The Fan-Tailed Grassbird can be found throughout africa as far North as Nigeria, but in South Africa can only be found in the eastern half of the country from the area around Mbombela, to the Drakenberg and Eastern coastline near Mtunzini.

Where To Find

More easily heard than seen, the Fan-Tailed Grassbird is found in thick vegetation adjacent to water, or long grass in poorly drained swampy areas. It is very difficult to see, and learning its call can be key to helping you locate it. Even after hearing it, it is unlikely that it will be seen as it rarely comes out to perch except on misty and rainy mornings, which offer your best chances to see them.

How To Id

The Fan-Tailed Grassbird is much like any other warbler with a light front and brown back, but has a very conspicuous wide tail that can be diagnostic when seen. As with most warblers, learning its call before trying to find it will help you identify it if all you get to see is a small bird hopping around in the shadows. If you do get a look at its tail, you will see bars underneath - unlike the Little Rush Warbler's much darker tail.

Conservation Status

The Fan-Tailed Grassbird is well represented in the protected areas and wetlands in South Africa but is regarded as threatened due to the loss and destruction of habitats due to burning, grazing and livestock trampling.

Book Now

The Fan-Tailed Grassbird is an elusive sighting that is missing from many advanced birdlists. If your list is one of these, or you want to get a better look than scratching in the reeds, Junior Gabela has in-depth knowledge of these birds’ habits, behaviours and preferred nesting sites - so be sure to add this bird to your wishlist when booking and we will do our best to get you up close.