Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Data Deficient

Black-tailed Cisticola (Cisticola melanurus)


French: Cisticole à queue noire German: Schwarzschwanz-Zistensänger Spanish: Cistícola colinegro
Other common names: Slender-tailed Cisticola

Dryodromas melanurus


, 1882,

Mona Quimbundo, Lunda Sul Province, Angola


Affinities uncertain; sometimes placed in Apalis because of its plain, strongly graduated tail. However, is similar to C. angusticauda, and has been suggested as being conspecific; differs from present congeners in having thickened, melanized shafts of outer primaries (especially male), and greatly reduced outermost primary. Monotypic.


NE Angola and SE DRCongo.

Descriptive notes

10–11 cm; 8–10 g. A fairly small, slender, apalis-like cisticola with rufous crown, plain back, and long, slender, graduated black tail with narrow rectrices.... read more


Song, various short burry phrases, at intervals of 1–6 s and usually lasting at least 15 s;... read more


Confined to Zambezian biome; occurs in miombo (Brachystegia) woodland, often near... read more

Food and feeding

Diet mainly insects. Forages in canopy of trees, gleaning foliage like an apalis; sometimes ventures lower down in trees and bushes.... read more


In Angola, a female with oviduct egg in Jan, and a group 6–8 birds, perhaps a breeding pair with several young... read more


Presumably mostly resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Data Deficient. A poorly known cisticolid, confined to NE Angola and adjacent DRCongo, both of which areas are difficult of... read more

Recommended citation

Ryan, P., de Juana, E. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Black-tailed Cisticola (Cisticola melanurus). 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 17 September 2019).