Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Coastal Cisticola (Cisticola haematocephalus)


French: Cisticole côtière German: Küstenzistensänger Spanish: Cistícola costero

Cisticola haematocephala


, 1868,

Mombasa, Kenya


See C. galactotes (below). Monotypic.


Coastal plain from S Somalia to NE Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

11–13 cm; 10–12 g. A medium-small cisticola with streaked back and fairly long graduated tail. Has creamy-white face, slightly darker ear-coverts, dull rufous-... read more


Male song a bleating, upslurred “brrrrrríp”, repeated three times per second; also gives excited “... read more


Marshes and dry shrubland, including dune vegetation; also edges of dry cultivation.

Food and feeding

Diet mainly small insects.


Breeds Apr–Jun and Nov–Dec. Probably monogamous; solitary, territorial. Male has short jerky display flight, flying on circular... read more


Little known; presumably mostly resident.

Status and conservation

Not assessed. Locally common to abundant. Has occasionally been killed during spraying operations targeted at roosts of Red-billed Queleas (Quelea quelea) in S... read more

Recommended citation

Ryan, P. (2019). Coastal Cisticola (Cisticola haematocephalus). 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 19 September 2019).