Family Crombecs and allies (Macrosphenidae)

Least Concern

Red-capped Crombec (Sylvietta ruficapilla)


French: Crombec à calotte rousse German: Rotohrsylvietta Spanish: Crombec orejirrufo

Sylvietta ruficapilla


, 1877,

Caconda, Benguela, Angola


Apparently forms two groups, with chubbi and schoutedeni having greyish-washed vs rufous or pale olive-rufous crowns (2); weaker rufous ear-coverts and upper breast-patch (1); and possibly slightly paler grey upperparts (ns[1]); alternatively, nominate, gephyra and chubbi form one group with grey upperparts and whitish underparts while makayii, rufigenis and schoutedeni form a second group with olive-washed upperparts, yellowish underparts and yellow margins to primaries#R. Six subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. r. rufigenis Reichenow, 1887 – extreme SE Gabon, Congo and SW DRCongo (E to Kasai).
  • S. r. makayii C. M. N. White, 1953 – Malanje, in NC Angola.
  • S. r. ruficapilla Bocage, 1877 – Red-capped Crombec – C & E Angola E to S DRCongo (SW Katanga).
  • S. r. gephyra C. M. N. White, 1953 – S DRCongo (W Katanga E to R Lufira and Kambove) and NW Zambia (Mwinilunga S to Kalabo and Monkoya).
  • S. r. schoutedeni C. M. N. White, 1953 – SE DRCongo (from W of L Tanganyika S to Marungu).
  • S. r. chubbi Ogilvie-Grant, 1910 – Grey-capped Crombec – extreme SE DRCongo (SE Katanga), Zambia (except NW, SW, and valleys of middle Zambezi and Luangwa), W Malawi, and W Mozambique (NE Tete). Recorded in SW Tanzania (Tuyuku and Tatanda)#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 12 cm; 10–12 g. The largest crombec, with strong bill. Nominate race has forehead grey, crown to nape, cheek and ear-coverts tawny-chestnut; upperparts grey,... read more


    Song a loud ringing “whit-wichity-whit-weeoo” and variations; in W Zambia, a far-carrying trill.... read more


    Wooded savanna, especially brachystegia (Brachystegia); sometimes thicker secondary... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects. Forages mainly in tree canopy, but descends to undergrowth in areas where S. rufescens is absent. Often joins mixed-... read more


    Breeds at end of dry season and beginning of rains; Sept–Apr in DRCongo, Sept–Nov in Zambia, Oct in Malawi, Oct and Nov in... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common; uncommon in Gabon and PRCongo.

    Recommended citation

    Pearson, D. (2019). Red-capped Crombec (Sylvietta ruficapilla). 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 18 February 2019).