Family Crombecs and allies (Macrosphenidae)

Least Concern

Northern Crombec (Sylvietta brachyura)


French: Crombec sittelle German: Braunbauchsylvietta Spanish: Crombec norteño

Sylvietta brachyura


, 1839,



Hitherto treated as conspecific with S. leucopsis (which see). Race carnapi intergrades with nominate in Sudan. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. b. brachyura Lafresnaye, 1839 – S Mauritania S to N Sierra Leone, thence E through S Mali and N Ivory Coast to S Niger, Nigeria, N Cameroon, N Central African Republic, S & C Chad, S & NE Sudan, South Sudan (except extreme S) and N Eritrea; reaches Guinea coast in E Ghana, Togo and Benin.
  • S. b. carnapi Reichenow, 1900 – C Cameroon and Central African Republic (except N), extreme S South Sudan, N DRCongo (upper Uele), Uganda and W Kenya (N shore of Lake Victoria and Trans-Nzoia).
  • Descriptive notes

    8 cm; 5–9·6 g. A small, extremely short-tailed warbler. Nominate race has top of head and upperparts uniform grey, with a prominent buff supercilium and a rather... read more


    Song a short, cheerful “chiorchi-chirrichi-chiorchi-chirrichi…” comprising 4... read more


    Wooded savanna, mainly in drier areas; semi-arid scrub to acacia (Acacia) and cultivation... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small invertebrates, including larvae and eggs of lepidopterans, termites (Isoptera), and spiders (Araneae). Usually forages low down in... read more


    Laying recorded in almost all months; nests mainly Jun–Jul (during rains) in Sahel, Feb–Jun and Oct–Nov in Ghana and... read more


    Most populations are sedentary, but species is present in N parts of W African range only during... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common and widespread over most of range. Locally common to uncommon in W Africa, with density of 0·5 individuals/ha recorded... read more

    Recommended citation

    Pearson, D. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Northern Crombec (Sylvietta brachyura). 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 February 2019).