Cisticolidae – Cisticolas, Prinia, Tailorbirds & Allies

Golden-headed Cisicola Cisticola exilis ©Ian Montgomery Website

The Cisticolidae family of small passerine birds is a group of about 158 warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. This family probably originated in Africa, which has the majority of species, but there are representatives of the family across tropical Asia into Australasia, and one species, the Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis, even breeds in Europe.

They are generally very small birds of drab brown or grey appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub. They are often difficult to see and many species are similar in appearance, so the song is often the best identification guide.

They are insectivorous birds which nest low in vegetation.They were often included within the Old World warbler family Sylviidae. However, this family has been re-ordered and added too since DNA sequencing and there have been a number of re-namings and splits.

Species List

They are:

Common Jery Neomixis tenella
Green Jery Neomixis viridis
Stripe-throated Jery Neomixis striatigula

Red-faced Cisticola Cisticola erythrops
Singing Cisticola Cisticola cantans
Whistling Cisticola Cisticola lateralis
Trilling Cisticola Cisticola woosnami
Chattering Cisticola Cisticola anonymus
Bubbling Cisticola Cisticola bulliens
Chubb’s Cisticola Cisticola chubbi
Hunter’s Cisticola Cisticola hunteri
Black-lored Cisticola Cisticola nigriloris
Lazy Cisticola Cisticola aberrans
Rock-loving Cisticola Cisticola emini
Rattling Cisticola Cisticola chiniana
Boran Cisticola Cisticola bodessa
Churring Cisticola Cisticola njombe
Ashy Cisticola Cisticola cinereolus
Tana River Cisticola Cisticola restrictus
Tinkling Cisticola Cisticola rufilatus
Grey-backed Cisticola Cisticola subruficapilla
Wailing Cisticola Cisticola lais
Lynes’s Cisticola Cisticola distinctus
Rufous-winged Cisticola Cisticola galactotes
Winding Cisticola Cisticola marginatus
Coastal Cisticola Cisticola haematocephalus
Ethiopian Cisticola Cisticola lugubris
Luapula Cisticola Cisticola luapula
Chirping Cisticola Cisticola pipiens
Carruthers’s Cisticola Cisticola carruthersi
Levaillant’s Cisticola Cisticola tinniens
Stout Cisticola Cisticola robustus
Aberdare Cisticola Cisticola aberdare
Croaking Cisticola Cisticola natalensis
Red-pate Cisticola Cisticola ruficeps
Dorst’s Cisticola Cisticola guinea
Tiny Cisticola Cisticola nana
Short-winged Cisticola Cisticola brachypterus
Rufous Cisticola Cisticola rufus
Foxy Cisticola Cisticola troglodytes
Neddicky Cisticola fulvicapilla
Long-tailed Cisticola Cisticola angusticauda
Black-tailed Cisticola Cisticola melanurus
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
Socotra Cisticola Cisticola haesitatus
Madagascan Cisticola Cisticola cherina
Desert Cisticola Cisticola aridulus
Cloud Cisticola Cisticola textrix
Black-backed Cisticola Cisticola eximius
Dambo Cisticola Cisticola dambo
Pectoral-patch Cisticola Cisticola brunnescens
Pale-crowned Cisticola Cisticola cinnamomeus
Wing-snapping Cisticola Cisticola ayresii
Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis

Socotra Warbler Incana incana

Striated Prinia Prinia crinigera
Brown Prinia Prinia polychroa
Black-throated Prinia Prinia atrogularis
Hill Prinia Prinia superciliaris
Grey-crowned Prinia Prinia cinereocapilla
Rufous-fronted Prinia Prinia buchanani
Rufescent Prinia Prinia rufescens
Grey-breasted Prinia Prinia hodgsonii
Graceful Prinia Prinia gracilis
Jungle Prinia Prinia sylvatica
Bar-winged Prinia Prinia familiaris
Yellow-bellied Prinia Prinia flaviventris
Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis
Tawny-flanked Prinia Prinia subflava
Plain Prinia Prinia inornata
Pale Prinia Prinia somalica
River Prinia Prinia fluviatilis
Black-chested Prinia Prinia flavicans
Karoo Prinia Prinia maculosa
Drakensberg Prinia Prinia hypoxantha
Sao Tome Prinia Prinia molleri
Banded Prinia Prinia bairdii
Black-faced Prinia Prinia melanops

White-chinned Prinia Schistolais leucopogon
Sierra Leone Prinia Schistolais leontica

Namaqua Warbler Phragmacia substriata

Roberts’s Warbler Oreophilais robertsi

Red-winged Warbler Heliolais erythropterus

Green Longtail Urolais epichlorus

Black-collared Apalis Oreolais pulcher
Ruwenzori Apalis Oreolais ruwenzorii

Red-winged Grey Warbler Drymocichla incana

Cricket Warbler Spiloptila clamans

Buff-bellied Warbler Phyllolais pulchella

Bar-throated Apalis Apalis thoracica
Yellow-throated Apalis Apalis flavigularis
Taita Apalis Apalis fuscigularis
Namuli Apalis Apalis lynesi
Rudd’s Apalis Apalis ruddi
Yellow-breasted Apalis Apalis flavida
Lowland Masked Apalis Apalis binotata
Mountain Masked Apalis Apalis personata
Black-throated Apalis Apalis jacksoni
White-winged Apalis Apalis chariessa
Black-capped Apalis Apalis nigriceps
Black-headed Apalis Apalis melanocephala
Chirinda Apalis Apalis chirindensis
Chestnut-throated Apalis Apalis porphyrolaema
Kabobo Apalis Apalis kaboboensis
Chapin’s Apalis Apalis chapini
Sharpe’s Apalis Apalis sharpii
Buff-throated Apalis Apalis rufogularis
Kungwe Apalis Apalis argentea
Karamoja Apalis Apalis karamojae
Bamenda Apalis Apalis bamendae
Gosling’s Apalis Apalis goslingi
Grey Apalis Apalis cinerea
Brown-headed Apalis Apalis alticola

Red-fronted Warbler Urorhipis rufifrons

Rufous-eared Warbler Malcorus pectoralis

Oriole Warbler Hypergerus atriceps

Grey-capped Warbler Eminia lepida

Green-backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brachyura
Grey-backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brevicaudata
Hartert’s Camaroptera Camaroptera harterti
Yellow-browed Camaroptera Camaroptera superciliaris
Olive-green Camaroptera Camaroptera chloronota

Grey Wren-Warbler Calamonastes simplex
Miombo Wren-Warbler Calamonastes undosus
Stierling’s Wren-Warbler Calamonastes stierlingi
Barred Wren-Warbler Calamonastes fasciolatus

Cinnamon-breasted Warbler Euryptila subcinnamomea

Black-headed Rufous Warbler Bathmocercus cerviniventris
Black-faced Rufous Warbler Bathmocercus rufus

Winifred’s Warbler Scepomycter winifredae
Rubeho Warbler Scepomycter rubehoensis

Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius
Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis
Cambodian Tailorbird Orthotomus chaktomuk
Philippine Tailorbird Orthotomus castaneiceps
Trilling Tailorbird Orthotomus chloronotus
Rufous-fronted Tailorbird Orthotomus frontalis
Grey-backed Tailorbird Orthotomus derbianus
Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Orthotomus sericeus
Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps
Olive-backed Tailorbird Orthotomus sepium
White-eared Tailorbird Orthotomus cinereiceps
Black-headed Tailorbird Orthotomus nigriceps
Yellow-breasted Tailorbird Orthotomus samarensis

Long-billed Forest Warbler Artisornis moreaui
Red-capped Forest Warbler Artisornis metopias

White-tailed Warbler Poliolais lopezi

Yellow-bellied Eremomela Eremomela icteropygialis
Salvadori’s Eremomela Eremomela salvadorii
Yellow-vented Eremomela Eremomela flavicrissalis
Senegal Eremomela Eremomela pusilla
Green-backed Eremomela Eremomela canescens
Green-capped Eremomela Eremomela scotops
Karoo Eremomela Eremomela gregalis
Burnt-necked Eremomela Eremomela usticollis
Rufous-crowned Eremomela Eremomela badiceps
Turner’s Eremomela Eremomela turneri
Black-necked Eremomela Eremomela atricollis

Species Links
  • Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis

    Species Account
    Image and species profile
  • Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 158

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