Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

White-eared Tailorbird (Orthotomus cinereiceps)


French: Couturière oreillarde German: Graukopf-Schneidervogel Spanish: Sastrecillo orejiblanco

Orthotomus cinereiceps


, 1877,

Basilan, Philippines


See O. samarensis. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. c. obscurior Mayr, 1947 – W Mindanao (Zamboanga Peninsula E to at least L Lanao), in S Philippines.
  • O. c. cinereiceps Sharpe, 1877 – Basilan (off W Mindanao).
  • Descriptive notes

    12 cm; c. 7 g. A greenish tailorbird with distinctive white ear-spot. Male has head and lower breast dark grey, becoming blackish on throat and chest, with contrasting... read more


    Song begins with loud, descending “dededede-dep-dep-deep-deeup”, which slows and levels out to... read more


    Dense tangled undergrowth in forest clearings or forest edge in lowlands, to 1000 m.

    Food and feeding

    Food small invertebrates. Forages in pairs in dense undergrowth, rarely venturing into open.


    Reported as breeding in Aug on Basilan (nominate race); birds with enlarged gonads in Apr and May. No other information.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Mindanao and the Eastern Visayas EBA. Poorly known species. Generally considered to be locally fairly common.

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. (2019). White-eared Tailorbird (Orthotomus cinereiceps). 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 20 August 2019).