Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Dorst's Cisticola (Cisticola guinea)


French: Cisticole de Dorst German: Dorstzistensänger Spanish: Cistícola de Dorst

Cisticola ruficeps guinea


, 1930,

Kintampo, Ashanti, Ghana


See C. ruficeps. Complicated taxonomy and nomenclature: when “C. ruficeps” (sensu lato) was found to consist of two species, on basis of highly distinctive vocalizations, the new form was mistakenly attributed to C. ruficeps mongalla, which was as a result raised to species level; vocalizations subsequently found not to apply to mongalla, and indeed not known from anywhere near the range of that race, so the new species was awarded a new name, “C. dorsti”; however, recent studies have now shown this taxon, with its distinctive vocalizations, to be synonymous with the form hitherto treated as “C. ruficeps guinea”; thus, “C. dorsti” is a junior synonym of “C. guinea#R. Monotypic.


Sudan–Guinea savannas from Senegal E to N Cameroon and extreme SW Chad; possibly also NE Mali.

Descriptive notes

11–12 cm; 8–12 g. A small cisticola with dull rufous crown, plain or lightly mottled back and medium-long graduated tail. In breeding plumage has buffy face,... read more


Male song is a rather dry, metallic trill lasting 1–1·2 seconds (quite different from... read more


Confined to Sudan-Guinea savanna biome; occurs in grassy understorey of dry woodland and savannas,... read more

Food and feeding

Diet presumably mainly insects. Forages low down among grass tussocks.


Recorded in Aug. Presumably monogamous; territorial. Nest a ball with side entrance, built low down in grasses. One clutch contained 4 eggs... read more


Little known; presumably mostly resident.

Status and conservation

Data-deficient. Locally common in many areas. This species, rather than C. ruficeps, thought likely to be present in NE Mali; further study required.

Recommended citation

Ryan, P. (2019). Dorst's Cisticola (Cisticola guinea). 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).