Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius)


French: Couturière à longue queue German: Rotstirn-Schneidervogel Spanish: Sastrecillo común

Motacilla sutoria


, 1769,

Sri Lanka


Previously suggested relationship with O. atrogularis refuted by genetic data, which indicate O. frontalis as its closest relative#R. Presence of both highland and lowland forms on Sri Lanka, and the fact that these also differ vocally from populations elsewhere in range, warrants taxonomic evaluation. Nine subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. s. guzuratus (Latham, 1790) – Pakistan and peninsular India.
  • O. s. fernandonis Whistler, 1939 – highland Sri Lanka.
  • O. s. sutorius (Pennant, 1769) – lowland Sri Lanka.
  • O. s. patia Hodgson, 1845 – Nepal terai and foothills E to Bhutan, Bangladesh, NE India and W Myanmar.
  • O. s. luteus Ripley, 1948 – NE India (E Assam, Nagaland S to N Manipur).
  • O. s. inexpectatus La Touche, 1922 – S China (SE Xizang, Yunnan) and E Myanmar E to N Laos and N Vietnam.
  • O. s. longicauda (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – SE China (including Hainan) and N Vietnam (N Tonkin).
  • O. s. maculicollis F. Moore, 1855 – S Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Cambodia and S Vietnam.
  • O. s. edela Temminck, 1836 – Java.
  • Descriptive notes

    10–14 cm; 6–10 g. A cock-tailed green and greyish warbler with relatively long pale bill slightly decurved towards tip, and somewhat flattened. Male nominate race... read more


    Song, given at any time of day, a loud, repeated, rather sudden outburst, “chubit, chubit,... read more


    Favours bushy cover by villages, gardens and parks, even shrubbery in city centres, also forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food almost entirely tiny invertebrates, chiefly insects, including small beetles (tenebrionid and curculionid species), bugs (Hemiptera),... read more


    Season Mar–Dec (chiefly Jun–Aug) in India, coinciding with wet season; throughout year but chiefly Mar–May and Aug–... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to locally common throughout wide range. Preference for gardens and other bushy cover in man-made habitats make this species... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. (2019). Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius). 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).