Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Red-faced Cisticola (Cisticola erythrops)


French: Cisticole à face rousse German: Rotgesicht-Zistensänger Spanish: Cistícola carirrojo

Drymoeca erythrops


, 1857,

Calabar, Nigeria


Race lepe sometimes considered a separate species; reported as being locally sympatric with sylvia in SE DRCongo (Marungu Mts). Proposed races arcanus (NW Zambia) and elusus (E Zimbabwe) both included in nyasa. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. e. erythrops (Hartlaub, 1857) – Red-faced Cisticola – Senegal and S Mauritania E to Central African Republic and NE Gabon, S to R Congo.
  • C. e. sylvia Reichenow, 1904 – SW South Sudan, NE & E DRCongo, Kenya and C Tanzania.
  • C. e. pyrrhomitra Reichenow, 1916 – E South Sudan and Ethiopia.
  • C. e. niloticus Madarász, 1914 – upper Blue Nile, in SE Sudan.
  • C. e. nyasa Lynes, 1930 – SE DRCongo and S Tanzania S to E South Africa.
  • C. e. lepe Lynes, 1930 – Lepe Cisticola – W & N Angola, possibly extending E into SE DRCongo.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–15 cm; male 12–18 g, female 10–16 g. A medium-sized, plain-backed cisticola with plain rufous face extending onto forehead. Nominate race breeding has... read more


    Male song a series of loud, ringing notes, often in duet with female “pickup pickup pickup... read more


    Tall, rank shrubs and grasses in damp hollows, small marshes and along streams and rivers,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mainly insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), caterpillars (Lepidoptera), ants (Hymenoptera), acridid grasshoppers (Orthoptera),... read more


    Breeds Mar–Dec N of equator, Oct–Mar in S; some pairs attempt second brood in Kenya. Probably monogamous. Solitary; territorial... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common. Occurs at densities of up to 0·8 birds/ha in riverine forest in Swaziland.

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. & Dean, R. (2019). Red-faced Cisticola (Cisticola erythrops). 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).