Short-billed crombec -- 短嘴森莺 (Sylvietta philippae)

Juvenile short-billed crombec
Loading more images and videos...

Short-billed crombec fact file

Short-billed crombec description

GenusSylvietta (1)

The short-billed crombec is a little-known, diminuitive warbler, endemic to the Horn of Africa. The most striking features of this species are its yellow underparts and bright pinkish-brown legs. The head is ashy grey, with narrow white streaks running from the base of the bill over the top of the eyes, while its upperparts are a lighter greyish-olive (2) (3). Like other warblers, this species is highly vocal, producing a song consisting of a repeated ti-chirr-cheesis, and a loud, metallic tchink call when agitated (4) (5).

Crombec de Philippa.
Length: 8 cm (2)

Short-billed crombec biology

Little is known about the biology of the short-billed crombec. The few field observations that exist record that it generally feeds on insects, such as tiny beetles and small, green caterpillars (3), foraging for its prey around the flowers, leaves and thorny branches of Acacia bushes (3) (5). The breeding season appears to be from May to June, with both the male and female providing food for the young (2) (5).


Short-billed crombec range

The majority of the short-billed crombec’s population is situated in Somalia, where it can be found in the north-western, central and south-western regions (6). It is also found in south-eastern Ethiopia, around the Somalian border, although its range is likely to extend further westwards (5).


Short-billed crombec habitat

The short-billed crombec inhabits arid scrubland, favouring dense thickets of white-flowered Acacia and gum-producing Commiphora species, as well as other bushes that grow where the soil is either rocky or red and sandy (2).


Short-billed crombec status

Classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Data Deficient


Short-billed crombec threats

Although the short-billed crombec appears to be fairly common (2), its small, restricted range means that it could be vulnerable to detrimental human activities and unforeseen natural events. Currently, its habitat is under threat from overexploitation of Acacia species for use in charcoal production, and Commiphora species for gum collection. In addition, overgrazing is destroying much of the vegetation that this species relies upon for foraging and shelter (6).


Short-billed crombec conservation

The first steps towards conserving this species are to survey its populations and investigate its ecology, only then can the impacts of habitat loss on its population be accurately assessed and any necessary conservation measures implemented (6). Unfortunately, due to the breakdown of centralised government in Somalia, it may prove difficult to carry out these aims in the immediate future (7).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

To learn more about conservation organisations in Somalia visit:

For more information on this and other bird species please see:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:


A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.


  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2008)
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2006) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. Williams, J.G. (1955) A new species of Sylvietta from Italian Somalia. Ibis, 97: 582 - 583.
  4. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  5. Ash, J.S. (1982) The Somali Short-billed Crombec Sylvietta philippae in Somalia and Ethiopia. Bulletin of the British Ornithological Club, 102: 89 - 92.
  6. BirdLife International (November, 2008)
  7. Resource Management Somali Network (November, 2008)

Image credit

Juvenile short-billed crombec  
Juvenile short-billed crombec

© Charles Davies

Charles Davies


Link to this photo

Arkive species - Short-billed crombec (Sylvietta philippae) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top