Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Ashy Cisticola (Cisticola cinereolus)


French: Cisticole cendrée German: Grauzistensänger Spanish: Cistícola ceniciento

Cisticola cinereola


, 1888,

Farré, Awash Valley, Ethiopia


Racial identity of population in SE South Sudan and NW Kenya uncertain; tentatively included in schillingsi. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. cinereolus Salvadori, 1888 – NE Ethiopia and N Somalia.
  • C. c. schillingsi Reichenow, 1905 – SE South Sudan, S Ethiopia, S Somalia, Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–14 cm; 15–19 g. A medium-sized, relatively slender, streak-backed cisticola with fairly long, rounded tail; plumage washed out, with virtually no rufous tones... read more


    Male song, from top of bush or small tree up to 3 m tall, a musical warble lasting 1·5–2... read more


    Confined to Somali-Masai biome; occurs in arid grassland and semi-arid acacia (Acacia)... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mainly insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), crickets (Orthoptera), cater­pillars (Lepidoptera), dragonflies (Odonata) and... read more


    Little known. Dec in Sudan, and Apr–Jul in Ethiopia and E Africa. Breeds singly, but may be sequentially polygynous or a co-operative... read more


    Little known; presumably mostly resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common. Density of 0·1–1 birds/ha recorded in Tsavo National Park, in Kenya.

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2019). Ashy Cisticola (Cisticola cinereolus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 August 2019).