Family Hyperoliidae

Hyperolius tuberilinguis Smith, 1849

Tinker Reed Frog, Green Reed Frog, Yellow-green Reed Frog, Groenrietpadda (A)

By G.J. Alexander

Currently accepted name: Hyperolius tuberilinguis
Red listing status: Least Concern

Photo by Manson A., 2014. URL: FrogMAP: 1763


H. tuberilinguis is widely distributed north of the atlas region, extending through eastern Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania to Kenya (Poynton and Broadley 1987). It is restricted to the eastern parts of the atlas region, the southern limit just entering Eastern Cape Province in the region of Port Edward (3130AA, AB). In northern KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland and Mpumalanga, it extends inland as far as Nelspruit (2530BD).

This is an easily recognisable species with an unmistakable call. The atlas data are reliable and relatively complete.


This species inhabits a variety of bushveld vegetation types in the Savanna Biome, particularly Coastal Bushveld-Grassland. It breeds in reed beds on the periphery of swamps or rivers (Alexander 1990), or dense vegetation surrounding inundated pans, and is often the most numerous frog in multi-species choruses. In Malawi it occurs in coastal, lakeshore or riverine marshes at elevations up to 488 m in open country (Stewart 1967).

Life history

In the dry season, adults aestivate in secluded places, often entering houses. In summer, they breed over a prolonged period, forming dense choruses (Pallet and Passmore 1988).

In Durban (2931CC), calling starts at the beginning of September and continues to the middle of April (Alexander 1987). Males call from perches in dense stands of emergent vegetation c.50 cm above the water, and are difficult to locate. Spacing of calling males is maintained by vocal aggression and physical combat (Pallet and Passmore 1988). Males leave breeding choruses in the early hours of the morning and ascend into trees surrounding the breeding site, returning to the breeding site the following evening (Passmore and Carruthers 1995). Telford (1982) noted that males exhibit high call-site fidelity, returning to the same site on successive nights unless disturbed by predators or displaced by competitors.

Even though males defend call sites from conspecific males, the call site is not used as the oviposition site (Telford 1982). The eggs are enclosed in a gelatinous cake, which is attached to reed or grass stems above the waterline (Poynton 1964); the tadpoles drop into the water as they hatch. The white eggs and their jelly capsules are 1.5 mm and 4 mm in diameter, respectively (Wager 1965).


Stable populations of H. tuberilinguis occur in relatively altered environments such as golf courses and parks. This species is also easily translocated: a breeding population was established in Pigeon Valley in Durban by transferring several adults from Bluff Nature Reserve (Alexander 1990). The species is abundant and occurs in several established conservation areas, and therefore does not require additional protection.

Current distribution map

Undated records;  pre-1996;  1996 to 2002;  2003 to present


  • Web:
    FrogMAP. 2023. Hyperolius tuberilinguis Smith, 1849. Animal Demography Unit. Accessed from; on 2023-12-01 09:12:24.
  • Book:
    Minter L.R., Burger M., Harrison J.A., Braack H.H., Bishop P.J. & Kloepfer D. (eds). 2004. Atlas and Red Data book of the frogs of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. SI/MAB Series no. 9. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Published by the Smithsonian Institution and the Avian Demography Unit (now Animal Demography Unit).