Tana River Cisticola Cisticola restrictus


Justification of Red List category
The status of this species is highly uncertain due largely to the lack of records subsequent to the type specimens. The inability to locate the species is suspected to be due to the specimens relating to aberrant individuals of another species or potentially hybrid individuals, though there remains the need to investigate the type material in detail. Consequently, there is insufficient information to estimate range, population size or trend, and the species is classified as Data Deficient.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as data deficient and potentially already extinct (del Hoyo et al. 2006): alternatively the type specimens may represent aberrant individuals of another species or potentially hybrid taxa.

Trend justification
The population trend is unknown as this species has not been located in its known range since 1972 (del Hoyo et al. 2006).

Distribution and population

Cisticola restrictus is known from a small number of specimens, all collected in the lower Tana River basin (at Karawa, Garsen, Ijole, Mnazini and Sangole [Urban et al. 1997]) in eastern Kenya, though it may also be found in Somalia. Recent attempts to locate the species in the field have been unsuccessful, and it has not been seen since 1972. Speculation over the validity of the taxon has shifted into rejection, but further examination of the type-material is desirable for a final conclusion.


The species was collected in semi-arid, sandy Acacia bushland from the lowlands to 500 m.


The threats to this species are unknown.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Further examine the type-material to clarify its taxonomic status. Carry out further surveys of potentially suitable habitat within the lower Tana River basin.


Text account compilers
Clark, J.

Borrow, N., Evans, M., Shutes, S., Symes, A. & Westrip, J.R.S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Cisticola restrictus. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/tana-river-cisticola-cisticola-restrictus on 29/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org on 29/02/2024.