More from Uganda – the warblers   Leave a comment

When you think of Afrotropical birds warblers probably aren’t top of the list, but Africa south of the Sahara has many interesting species.

About 120 species of warbler occur in the Afrotropics, of which around 30 are migrants from the Palearctic (all of which were absent in June at the time of our visit). Warblers used to be thought of as a monophyletic group, but are now split in anything from 9 to 16 different families, the majority of which occur in Africa.

Here are a few African warblers that we saw on the trip.



The cisticolas are a genus of at least 52 species, all but one of which occur in Africa. They are the bane of visiting birders due to their similarity but can be separated if seen well on size, degree of streaking, breast patches and most importantly voice. This Chubb”s Cisticola is submontane in its occurrence.


The small and uniquely coloured Foxy Ciscicola


Many cisticolas are named after their repetitive songs, eg Croaking, Rattling, Wailing, Chirping, Trilling, Whistling, Siffling (derived from the French siffleur – to whistle) and of course the more familiar Zitting.  This Winding Cisticola was seen quite often in scrub habitat throughout the tour.


Red-pate Cisticola was first found in central Uganda by Birdquest a few years ago but are now quite common on route to Lake Bisina and appear to be colonising the area.


White-chinned Prinia. The dozen species of Prinias in Africa belong to the same family as the cisticolas.


African Moustached Warbler. This enigmatic bird may be placed in its own family in the future.


Dark-capped Yellow Warbler. This species surprisingly has been shown to be related to the palearctic, Booted, Sykes and Olivaceous Warblers whilst ……


…. the similar Papyrus Yellow Warbler is placed in a different genus. This bird has a very restricted distribution in papyrus swamps of central Africa.


Evergreen Forest Warbler. I wanted to call this ‘nevergreen forest warbler’, I’ve seen it on a few trips and they have always been brown.

Posted August 14, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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