Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Grey Apalis (Apalis cinerea)


French: Apalis cendrée German: Graurücken-Feinsänger Spanish: Apalis gris

Euprinodes cinereus


, 1891,

Mount Elgon, Kenya


Often treated as conspecific with A. alticola#R#R and preliminary genetic data appear to support such treatment#R; reports of sympatry in S Kenya and N Tanzania potentially erroneous, but might involve an undescribed taxon in this group#R; further research required. Proposed race funebris (SE Nigeria, SW Cameroon highlands, NE Gabon) described on basis of a worn specimen; treated as a synonym of nominate, despite large gap in distribution. Birds on Mt Cameroon, included in sclateri, are somewhat intermediate between that race and nominate. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. sclateri (Alexander, 1903) – SW Cameroon (Mt Cameroon) and Bioko.
  • A. c. cinerea (Sharpe, 1891) – SE Nigeria, highlands of SW Cameroon (except Mt Cameroon), and NE Gabon; E DRCongo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, S South Sudan, W Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • A. c. grandis Boulton, 1931 – SW Angola.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; male 8–13 g, female 7–11 g. A nondescript dark grey forest apalis with a fairly long tail. Nominate race has grey-brown crown, contrasting... read more


    Calls mainly in early morning and late afternoon, but also after rain. Male song, from prominent... read more


    Montane forest and secondary growth; also adjacent thickets and well-developed woodland, including... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mainly insects and other invertebrates, including beetles (Coleoptera), caterpillars (Lepidoptera) and spiders (Araneae). Occurs in... read more


    Breeds during Nov–Mar dry season in SW Cameroon, Jan–Jul in E Africa, and Sept–Jan in Rwanda and Angola. Probably... read more


    Presumably mostly resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common through much of its range. The most abundant apalis in SW Cameroon. Occurs at density of 2–3 pairs/ha in Nyungwe Forest, in Rwanda.

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2019). Grey Apalis (Apalis cinerea). 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).