Fan-tailed Warbler (Cisticola juncidis)

Fan-tailed Warbler

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Cisticolidae | [latin] Cisticola juncidis | [UK] Fan-tailed Warbler | [FR] Cisticole des joncs | [DE] Cistensanger | [ES] Cistcola Buitron | [NL] Gewone Graszanger


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Basileuterus lachrymosa
Euthlypis lachrymosa MA Mexico to Nicaragua
Euthlypis lachrymosa lachrymosa
Euthlypis lachrymosa schistacea
Euthlypis lachrymosa tephra

Physical charateristics

Except for Goldcrest, smallest of west Palearctic Sylviidae, with stumpy fan-tail. Essentially buff, with heavy dark streaks above and paler throat and vent, pale area round eye, and black and white tips to tail-feathers. Sexes similar, little seasonal variation.

Listen to the sound of Fan-tailed Warbler

[audio: Warbler.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 12 cm wingspan max.: 14 cm
size min.: 10 cm size max.: 11 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 14 days fledging max.: 13 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 7  


Eurasia, Oriental Region, Australasiastralia, Africa : widespread


In west Palearctic, habitat lies primarily in Mediterranean and neighbouring warm temperate lowlands, both continental and oceanic, but basically a bird of tropical grasslands, often those subject to destructive seasonal fires. Belongs to the savanna rather than the swamp species, yet occupies wet as well as dry habitats, almost always, however, dominated by grasses or other plants, not stiff or woody, and below 1 m tall.


Breeds April-August in Spain and North Africa, April-September in Normandie, Apilr-October in Japan. Nest site is built low down in marshy vegetation, typically clumps of grass, rushes, etc. Nest, elongated pear or bottle-shaped structure with entrance at or towards top, made of grasses bound together with cobwebs, lined with more cobwebs, flowers,hair, and down.
4-6 eggs are laid, incubation 12-13 days by female only.

Feeding habits

Chiefly insects, taken on or near ground. Typically forages in and around bases of grassland tussocks, also recorded feeding on ground by walking around in manner of pipit Anthus. Occasionally catches flying insects by sallying technique.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Cisticola juncidis is a widespread resident across much of southern Europe, which
accounts for less than 5% of its global range. Its European breeding population is
large (>230,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although the trend of the
Spanish population during 1990-2000 was unknown, the species remained stable
across the vast majority of its European range.
Fan-tailed Warbler status Least Concern


Chiefly sedentary but dispersive; also eruptive, with northern limits of range varying with temperature fluctuations; evidence of regular migration in western Mediterranean.
Eruptive movements result in sharp fluctuations in numbers: e.g. in Camargue, where suddenly abundant after drastic decline due to hard winters, and on Catalonian coast (north-east Spain), where very numerous in some years, scarce in others; similar fluctuations reported in Israel. Eruptions may also lead to rapid extension of range, notably in western Europe in early 1970s.

Distribution map

Fan-tailed Warbler distribution range map

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