Cisticolas and Allies (Cisticolidae)

Grey-backed Camaroptera (Camaroptera brachyura) - HBW 11, p. 481

French: Camaroptère à tête grise German: Grünmantel-Bogenflügel Spanish: Camaróptera Baladora
Other common names: Bleating Bush-warbler; Green-backed Camaroptera (nominate group)

Taxonomy: Sylvia brachyura Vieillot, 1820, Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa.
Often treated as a conspecific with C. harterti, but latter has green tail and whiter underparts and is genetically distinct; the two appear not to intergrade in Angola, despite occurring in the same habitat. Races form two complexes, the green-backed “nominate group” (pileata, fugglescouchmani, bororensis, constans and nominate) and the grey-backed “brevicaudata group” (remaining races). These often treated as comprising two separate species, but the groups share similar calls and displays, hybridize locally in Mozambique and Malawi, and do n.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Sylvia brachyura Vieillot, 1820, Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa.
Often treated as a conspecific with C. harterti, but latter has green tail and whiter underparts and is genetically distinct; the two appear not to intergrade in Angola, despite occurring in the same habitat. Races form two complexes, the green-backed “nominate group” (pileata, fugglescouchmani, bororensis, constans and nominate) and the grey-backed “brevicaudata group” (remaining races). These often treated as comprising two separate species, but the groups share similar calls and displays, hybridize locally in Mozambique and Malawi, and do not exhibit significant genetic differences, and thus are probably best treated as representing a single species; moreover, bororensis intergrades with sharpei in Malawi, and fugglescouchmani with intercalata in NE Zambia; on the other hand, members of both forms occur together in NE Tanzania and NE South Africa, where they are segregated locally by habitat choice. Birds described as race “congica” proved to be aberrant juveniles of Calamonastes undosus cinereus. Sixteen subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • brevicaudata (Cretzschmar, 1830) - savannas from Senegal E to Sudan and NW Ethiopia.
  • tincta (Cassin, 1855) - forest and woodland from Liberia E to W Kenya, S to NW Angola.
  • abessinica Zedlitz, 1911 - S Sudan, NE DRCongo, Ethiopia, Djibouti, NW Somalia, N Uganda and N Kenya.

     See all 16 subspecies
  • brevicaudata (Cretzschmar, 1830) - savannas from Senegal E to Sudan and NW Ethiopia.
  • tincta (Cassin, 1855) - forest and woodland from Liberia E to W Kenya, S to NW Angola.
  • abessinica Zedlitz, 1911 - S Sudan, NE DRCongo, Ethiopia, Djibouti, NW Somalia, N Uganda and N Kenya.
  • insulata Desfayes, 1975 - forested areas of SC Ethiopia.
  • aschani Granvik, 1934 - E DRCongo (Kivu), SW Uganda and Kenyan Highlands.
  • erlangeri Reichenow, 1905 - S Somalia, E Kenya and NE Tanzania.
  • griseigula Sharpe, 1892 - SE Uganda, W Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • intercalata C. M. N. White, 1960 - N & NE Angola, S DRCongo, N Zambia and W Tanzania.
  • sharpei Zedlitz, 1911 - S Angola, N Namibia, N & E Botswana, S Zambia, arid parts of W Malawi and N South Africa (North West Province).
  • transitiva Clancey, 1974 - Zimbabwe, SE Botswana and NE South Africa.
  • beirensis Roberts, 1932 - Mozambique N of R Save, adjacent Zimbabwe, and S to NE South Africa (NE KwaZulu-Natal).
  • pileata Reichenow, 1891 - SE Kenya and coastal Tanzania (inland to E Usambaras), including Zanzibar and Mafia I.
  • fugglescouchmani Moreau, 1939 - NE Zambia, N Malawi and E Tanzania.
  • bororensis Gunning & Roberts, 1911 - SW Tanzania, N Mozambique and S Malawi.
  • constans Clancey, 1952 - SE Zimbabwe, S Mozambique, lowveld of South Africa and Swaziland.
  • brachyura (Vieillot, 1820) - coastal E & S South Africa (from C KwaZulu-Natal S to George).