Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Grey Wren-warbler (Calamonastes simplex)


French: Camaroptère modeste German: Somalibindensänger Spanish: Camaróptera sencilla

Thamnobia simplex


, 1878,

Ndi, Taita District, Kenya


Has been considered conspecific with C. undosus and C. stierlingi, but no intergradation where their ranges meet. Monotypic.


SE South Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, N and S Somalia, Kenya, E Uganda and N Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

13 cm; 12 g. A rather long-legged, dark grey warbler that habitually waves its long, dark tail. Has grey-brown face with narrow white shaft streaks, dark grey-brown crown and... read more


Male song a loud, penetrating “clack clack” or “click click” like sound of... read more


Confined to Somali-Masai biome; inhabits dense undergrowth in dry woodland and acacia (Acacia... read more

Food and feeding

Diet mainly insects. Forages low down in bushes and trees, usually below 1 m, as well as on the ground. Almost all foraging takes place... read more


Breeds Nov–May. Probably monogamous; solitary, territorial. Male displays to female during nest-building by fanning tail while... read more


Little known; presumably mostly resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common.

Recommended citation

Ryan, P. (2019). Grey Wren-warbler (Calamonastes simplex). 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 17 September 2019).