Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Grey-backed Tailorbird (Orthotomus derbianus)


French: Couturière de Luçon German: Luzonschneidervogel Spanish: Sastrecillo de Luzón

Orthotomus derbianus

F. Moore

, 1855,

Luzon, Philippines


If not marginally sympatric with O. chloronotus (in which case no score needed) present species is parapatric (3) and differs in its grey vs green back (3); more restricted white chin (1); and (interestingly only) minor difference in voice (allow 1)#R, this last being reflected in sister relationship as determined by molecular study#R; supposed “intermediate” specimens have been shown to be juveniles or immatures of present species. Genetic analysis#R and voice disprove idea#R that it might be conspecific with O. castaneiceps (when O. chloronotus split). Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. d. derbianus F. Moore, 1855 – S Luzon (S from Pangasinan and Nueva Vizcaya Provinces), in NC Philippines.
  • O. d. nilesi Parkes, 1988 – Catanduanes, off SE Luzon.
  • Descriptive notes

    11 cm; c. 7 g. A dark grey tailorbird (looking especially dark in gloom of forest undergrowth), very long bill slightly decurved towards tip, graduated tail relatively short... read more


    Song a loud, rhythmic repeated “chew-ee-pee” or “twee-purr” or repeated “purr”, which may be given... read more


    Lowland forest, particularly secondary growth about forest edges and clearings, with associated... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food insects, but no precise details available. Keeps very much to low undergrowth, hence more difficult to see than are some congeners.


    Nestling found in Mar on Mt Isarog. No other information.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Restricted-range species: present in Luzon EBA and Palawan EBA. Relatively common at most forested sites within its small range. Its... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. (2019). Grey-backed Tailorbird (Orthotomus derbianus). 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).