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Slender-tailed Cisticola Cisticola melanurus
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.

Taxonomic note
Gender agreement of species name follows David and Gosselin (2002b).

Apalis melanura Collar and Andrew (1988), Cisticola melanura BirdLife International (2000), Cisticola melanura BirdLife International (2004), Cisticola melanurus Dowsett and Forbes-Watson (1993)

Outer primaries with heavily melanised rachi, stiff and glossy black and apparently used in mechanical sound production. Long, slender black tail. Rufous head and greyish upperparts, whitish below. Voice Song described as a series of burry phrases 0.2 seconds long and repeated every 1-6 seconds, lasting up to several minutes (Mills et al. 2011). Also a clicking or snapping sound produced by the wings and a weak 'seep' note (Mills et al. 2011).

Distribution and population
Cisticola melanurus is poorly known in north-east Angola from Malanje to western Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul provinces (Dean 2000) (recently in July/August 2010 7.5km southeast of Cacolo [Mills et al. 2011], and in 2005, c.30 km north of Calandula [Sinclair et al. 2007]) and south-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo from Gungu in Kwango (Pay Kikwanga) and Shaba (upper Lufupa River and Nasondoye) (Urban et al. 1997). It is generally uncommon but the extent to which it is threatened is unknown.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as poorly known and data deficient (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 occurs in climax miombo woodland where it is found in grassy patches and in the canopy of smaller trees (Dean 2000) and forages in pairs for insects (Urban et al. 1997).

It is not clear to what extent it may be suffering from habitat destruction.

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
If possible, search for the species in climax miombo woodland in north-east Angola and south-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Study its ecological requirements and threats.

Dean, W. R. J. 2000. The birds of Angola. British Ornithologists' Union, Tring, UK.

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.

Mills, M.S.L., Melo, M. and Vaz, A. 2011. Black-tailed Cisticola Cisticola melanurus in eastern Angola: behavioural notes and the first photographs and sound-recordings. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 18(2): 193-198.

Sinclair, I.; Chamberlain, D.; Chamberlain, M.; vaz Pinto, P. 2007. Observations of three little-known bird species in northern Angola. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 14(1): 55-56.

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
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Martin, R, Pilgrim, J., Shutes, S., Symes, A.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Cisticola melanurus. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Data Deficient
Family Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and allies)
Species name author (Cabanis, 1882)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 442,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change