Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Critically Endangered

Taita Apalis (Apalis fuscigularis)


French: Apalis des Taita German: Taitafeinsänger Spanish: Apalis de los Taita

Apalis murina fuscigularis


, 1938,

Taita Hills, south-east Kenya


Along with A. flavigularis and A. lynesi, until recently treated as conspecific with A. thoracica; molecular evidence suggests such treatment may be appropriate, but present species differs from nearest geographical neighbours (A. t. griseiceps, murina and pareensis) by its all-dark vs whitish throat (3); underparts with virtually no yellow tinge (appear stone-white) (1); and lack of response to tape playback, having a “loud penetrating ‘chwee-chwee-chwee’… or ‘chewik chewik chewik’, reminiscent of songs of more southern races; also some high thin notes”#R (allow 3); from nominate A. t. thoracica by its all-dark vs white throat (3); underparts with virtually no buffy tinge (appear stone-white) (ns[1]); head brown vs grey (2); back and wings sooty-grey vs dirty olive (2); lores to lower cheeks mid-brown vs black (ns[2]); and from morphologically closest race A. t. youngi by its blackish vs white throat (3); greyer underparts (1); dark brown vs blackish tail (1); apparently longer tail in male (allow 1); presumed different voice (see above; at least 1). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Taita Hills, in SE Kenya.

Descriptive notes

11–12 cm; 10–12 g. A forest apalis. Male has dark grey-brown head and upperparts, washed olive-green on rump and uppertail-coverts; upperwing blackish-brown,... read more


Male song is a loud “chwee chwee chwee” or “chewik chewik chewik”; similar to that of A.... read more


Afromontane forest, mainly in forest edge, at 1200–1725 m. It prefers vegetation with... read more

Food and feeding

Diet consists mainly of small invertebrates. Forages in pairs or small family groups. Gleans from leaves, twigs and branches; sometimes... read more


Little known. Four nests found in Nov–Jan contained 2–3 eggs; nest similar to other Apalis, an ovoid doomed... read more


Resident; study of movement of birds among remaining forest patches in Taita Hills found no... read more

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. Restricted-range species: present in Tanzania-Malawi Mountains EBA. Currently found in forest fragments surviving on the Dabida and Mbololo massifs, in... read more

Recommended citation

Ryan, P., de Juana, E. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Taita Apalis (Apalis fuscigularis). 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).