Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-bellied Eremomela (Eremomela icteropygialis)


French: Érémomèle à croupion jaune German: Gelbbaucheremomela Spanish: Eremomela ventrigualda

Sylvietta icteropygialis


, 1839,

Orange River, Namibia


Closely related to E. flavicrissalis. Modern trend to treat race salvadorii as a separate species evidently based on earlier published precedent#R without cognizance of subsequent evidence rejecting this arrangement#R or of the fact that the characters supposedly defining salvadorii are largely shared with race polioxantha, whose range in C southern Africa remains to be clarified. Race perimacha sometimes included in icteropygialis#R. Other proposed races are karamojensis (from NE Uganda, N Kenya and S Somalia) and crawfurdi (SW Kenya, NW Tanzania and Rwanda), both synonymized with griseoflava; sharpei (SW South Africa), synonymized with saturatior; and viriditincta (described from SW Zambia), considered inseparable from helenorae. Ten subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. i. alexanderi W. L. Sclater & Mackworth-Praed, 1918 – extreme S Mauritania, N Senegal, S Mali, Burkina Faso, S Niger (S from Aïr), extreme N Nigeria and extreme N Cameroon E to W Sudan (Darfur and Kordofan).
  • E. i. griseoflava Heuglin, 1862 – E, C & S Sudan, extreme NE South Sudan, N Eritrea, N Somalia, Ethiopia, N & E Uganda, W Kenya, NW Tanzania (E to Mwanza) and E Rwanda.
  • E. i. abdominalis Reichenow, 1905 – C, S & SE Kenya and N Tanzania (S to Tabora and Bahi).
  • E. i. polioxantha Sharpe, 1883 – E & S Tanzania (S from Iringa and Kidugallo), SE DRCongo (S Katanga), Zambia (except W & SW), Malawi, Zimbabwe (except NW), E Botswana, W & S Mozambique, NE South Africa (N & E Northern Province S to NE KwaZulu-Natal) and Swaziland.
  • E. i. puellula Grote, 1929 – coastal SW Angola (Benguela, Namibe).
  • E. i. helenorae Alexander, 1899 – S Angola (S Cuando Cubango), extreme NE Namibia (Caprivi Strip), SW Zambia, NW Zimbabwe and N & NE Botswana.
  • E. i. icteropygialis (Lafresnaye, 1839) – Yellow-bellied Eremomela – Namibia and W & C Botswana.
  • E. i. perimacha Oberholser, 1920 – S Botswana and N South Africa (Northern Cape E to W Northern Province).
  • E. i. saturatior Ogilvie-Grant, 1910 – S & C South Africa (Transvaal highveld and W Free State S to Western Cape and W Eastern Cape).
  • E. i. salvadorii Reichenow, 1891 – Salvadori's Eremomela – SE Gabon E to S DRCongo (E to Kasai), N, E & C Angola and W Zambia (Zambezi district).
  • Descriptive notes

    9–10 cm; 6–9 g. A small, short-tailed, grey-backed warbler with variable yellow below. Nominate race has brownish-tinged grey top of head and upperparts, dirty... read more


    Typical song a cheerful, high-pitched repeated “cheri-chu-chit-chit-chwee”, rising in middle part.... read more


    Wide range of open savanna scrub and drier woodland, especially Acacia and ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small insects; recorded items include homopteran bugs, beetles (Coleoptera), and caterpillars and other larvae. Usually in pairs or small... read more


    Season Jun–Aug in Mauritania, throughout year in Senegambia, Jun–Jul (breeding condition) in Niger, Feb and Jun in Sudan, Feb... read more


    Mainly resident. In N parts of W African range appears only during rains, mainly Jul–Sept;... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widely distributed in non-forested sub-Saharan Africa. Common through W African Sahel and savanna zones and across C Sudan; fairly common in medium-... read more

    Recommended citation

    Pearson, D. (2019). Yellow-bellied Eremomela (Eremomela icteropygialis). 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 19 September 2019).