Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Stout Cisticola (Cisticola robustus)


French: Cisticole robuste German: Amharazistensänger Spanish: Cistícola robusto

Drymoica robusta


, 1845,

Shoa, Ethiopia


Sometimes treated as conspecific with C. aberdare; position of Ethiopian races (nominate and omo) unclear, may be closer to C. aberdare than to other races listed herein. Race angolensis sometimes considered a separate species on basis of vocal differences, but voice varies greatly across range. Proposed race ambiguus (C Kenya to N Tanzania) considered inseparable from nuchalis. Racial identity of population in E Congo uncertain, provisionally included in nuchalis. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. r. santae Bates, 1926 – Western Stout Cisticola – highlands of SE Nigeria and SW Cameroon.
  • C. r. schraderi Neumann, 1906 – Eritrea and adjacent N Ethiopia.
  • C. r. robustus (Rüppell, 1845) – Eastern Stout Cisticola – N Ethiopian Plateau.
  • C. r. omo Neumann & Lynes, 1928 – Omo Cisticola – S Ethiopian Plateau.
  • C. r. nuchalis Reichenow, 1893 – Rufous-crowned Cisticola – E Congo; E DRCongo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya S to N Tanzania.
  • C. r. awemba Lynes, 1933 – SE DRCongo, NE Zambia and SW Tanzania.
  • C. r. angolensis (Bocage, 1877) – Angola Cisticola – Angola, S DRCongo and NW Zambia.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–16 cm; male 16–25 g, female 14–24 g. A large, stocky cisticola with rufous nuchal collar, heavy bill, plain face, boldly striped upperparts, and medium-... read more


    Male song a short trill, “tr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r”, 0·5–1 seconds, that of race nuchalis... read more


    Moist, short grassland with scattered bushes and trees, dambos, grassy mountain slopes and rocky... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mainly insects, including small grasshoppers and crickets (Orthoptera), moths and caterpillars (Lepidoptera), small beetles, weevils... read more


    Nests during rains, May–Jul and Sept–Oct N of equator and Mar–Jul and Sept–Jan S of it. Monogamous; possibly... read more


    Little known. Presumably mostly resident, but apparently disappears from some areas in W Kenya... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common throughout most of range. One record from S Sudan; status there uncertain. Racial identity of isolated and localized population in E PRCongo (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2019). Stout Cisticola (Cisticola robustus). 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).