Gray-backed Camaroptera

Camaroptera brevicaudata

Gray-backed Camaroptera, Camaroptera brevicaudata, photo © by Michael Plagens

Foraging beneath shrubbery at Nairobi Arboretum, Kenya. November 2012.

From Wikipedia: Grey-backed Camaroptera is a small bird in the Cisticolidae family. This bird is a resident breeder in Africa south of the Sahara Desert. Recent studies suggest this species and the Green-backed Camaroptera may be the same species. This skulking passerine is typically found low in dense cover. The Grey-backed Camaroptera binds large leaves together low in a bush and builds a grass nest within the leaves. The normal clutch is two or three eggs. These 11.5 cm long warblers have grey upperparts and a grey short cocked tail. The wings are olive and the underparts whitish grey. The sexes are similar, but juveniles are paler yellow on the breast. Like most warblers, Grey-backed Camaroptera is insectivorous. The call is a whining sheee......sheee, and the song is a crisp twik twik twik twik twik.

Gray-backed Camaroptera, Camaroptera brevicaudata, photo © by Michael Plagens

This specimen was found freshly killed alongside a highway in Baringo County, Kenya. It was struck by a motor vehicle when it attempted to cross. Because they forage low in brush, they may be more vulnerable to such collisions than higher flying birds. As the economy grows in Kenya more highways and more vehicles will result in more road kill.

Cisticolidae -- Cisticola Family


  • Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania by Zimmerman et al.
  • Birds of East Africa by Stevenson and Fanshawe

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 12 January 2013,
updated 5 February 2016.