Family Crombecs and allies (Macrosphenidae)

Least Concern

Somali Crombec (Sylvietta isabellina)


French: Crombec isabelle German: Isabellsylvietta Spanish: Crombec isabelino

Sylviella isabellina


, 1897,

Le Gud, Ogaden, east Ethiopia




S & SE Ethiopia (S from Awash Valley, E from R Omo), NW & S Somalia, N & E Kenya (E from Lokitaung, Samburu and Meru, S to R Tsavo) and extreme NE Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

9·5 cm; 10 g. A pale greyish crombec with a long and slightly decurved bill. Has top of head and upperparts light grey, with a narrow white supercilium above a... read more


Song is a repeated “tichit-tichit-tiri-chirichiri chirichiri”.


Thorn-scrub and semi-arid bushland, often along watercourses; prefers acacia (Acacia) or... read more

Food and feeding

Insect larvae and eggs, spiders (Araneae). Usually forages singly or in pairs, in tops of bushes and low canopy.


Laying recorded Mar in Ethiopia, Apr in Somalia, Jun in Kenya. Nest bottle-shaped, decorated with webs and plant down, suspended from twig... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common in S Somalia but uncommon in N; uncommon in Kenya.

Recommended citation

Pearson, D. (2019). Somali Crombec (Sylvietta isabellina). 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 21 February 2019).