Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Stierling's Wren-warbler (Calamonastes stierlingi)


French: Camaroptère de Stierling German: Wellenkehl-Bindensänger Spanish: Camaróptera de Stierling

Calamonastes stierlingi


, 1901,

Songea, south-east Tanzania


See C. simplex and C. undosus (both above). Geographical overlap locally with C. fasciolatus, but the two are segregated by habitat (no hybridization recorded). Proposed race buttoni (Zambia W of Luangwe Valley) synonymized with nominate. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. stierlingi Reichenow, 1901 – SE Tanzania, N Mozambique, E Malawi and W & C Zambia.
  • C. s. irwini (Smithers & Paterson, 1956) – extreme SE Angola, extreme NE Namibia and N Botswana through S Zambia and Zimbabwe Plateau to W Malawi and NW Mozambique.
  • C. s. olivascens (Clancey, 1969) – C Mozambique.
  • C. s. pintoi (Irwin, 1960) – NE South Africa, Swaziland and extreme S Mozambique (S of R Limpopo).
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; male 12–14 g, female 11–13 g. A richly coloured woodland warbler with finely barred underparts. Nominate race has indistinct pale supercilium; crown, ear-... read more


    Male song a high-pitched, 3-note or 4-note galloping “tillillup tillillup tillillup” or “biririt... read more


    Confined to Zambezian biome; occurs in dense patches of vegetation, including thickets on... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mainly insects. Occurs singly, in pairs or in family groups. Forages by gleaning from leaves and twigs, mostly low down and on the... read more


    Breeds Oct–Mar. Probably monogamous; solitary, territorial. In courtship, male performs U-shaped flights over foraging female, drops... read more


    Little known; mostly resident, but some evidence of movements following dry summers in NE Botswana.

    Status and conservation

    Not assessed. Uncommon to locally common. Occurs at densities of 0·3 pairs/ha in broadleaf deciduous woodland in NE Botswana, and 0·02–0·06 birds/ha in acacia savanna... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2019). Stierling's Wren-warbler (Calamonastes stierlingi). 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 26 August 2019).