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Short-billed Crombec Sylvietta philippae
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

Taxonomic source(s)
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

8cm, 9-10g. Very short tailed warbler with a short bill for a Sylvietta species. Yellowish underparts and greyish upperparts, with a narrow white supercilium and white throat. Voice Repeated three note phrase with the middle note higher, 'te chirr cheeses'.

Distribution and population
Sylvietta philippae is found in north-west and west Somalia and adjacent parts of Ethiopia (Urban et al. 1997) up to 80 km from the border (L. D. C. Fishpool in litt. 2006), but may be more widespread in Ethiopia (Ash 1982). There are also several records in the Bogol Manyo area in south-east Somalia (J. Ash in litt. 2007). In Somalia it has been described as widespread but not particularly common, and given the size of its range it may not be at risk (J. Miskell in litt. 2006).

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as fairly common (del Hoyo et al. 2006).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

It is a bird of semi-desert, frequenting fairly dense thickets of Acacia and Commiphora on rocky ground and red sandy soil, where it feeds on minute beetles and other insects (Urban et al. 1997). It has been noted as fairly common at about 300 m elevation, and ranges up to 900 m (Urban et al. 1997).

At one site in Ethiopia the species is possibly threatened by exploitation of its scrub habitat for charcoal production and extraction of gum and resin (EWNHS 1996). As it appears to be restricted to denser areas of thicket it could be sensitive to habitat alteration through fuelwood collection or grazing.

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey semi-desert in Somalia and adjacent parts of Ethiopia. Study ecological requirements and threats.

Ash, J. S. 1982. The Somali Short-billed Crombec Sylvietta philippae in Somalia and Ethiopia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 102: 89-92.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2006. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

EWNHS. 1996. Important Bird Areas of Ethiopia: a first inventory. Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society, Addis Ababa.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1997. The birds of Africa vol. V. Academic Press, London.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Starkey, M., Robertson, P., Butchart, S., Bird, J., Symes, A.

Fishpool, L., Ash, J., Miskell, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Sylvietta philippae. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Short-billed crombec (Sylvietta philippae) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Data Deficient
Family Sylviidae (Old World warblers)
Species name author Williams, 1955
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 206,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change