Tailorbirds are small birds, most belonging to the genus Orthotomus. While they were often placed in the Old World warbler family Sylviidae, recent research suggests they more likely belong in the Cisticolidae and they are treated as such in Del Hoyo et al.[1] One former species, the mountain tailorbird (and therefore also its sister species rufous-headed tailorbird), is actually closer to an old world warbler genus Cettia.[2]

Orthotomus sutorius.jpg
Common tailorbirds (Orthotomus sutorius)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cisticolidae
Genus: Orthotomus
Horsfield, 1821

See text

They occur in the Old World tropics, principally in Asia.

These warblers are usually brightly colored, with green or grey upper parts and yellow white or grey under parts. They often have chestnut on the head.

Tailorbirds have short rounded wings, short tails, strong legs and long curved bills. The tail is typically held upright, like a wren. They are typically found in open woodland, scrub and gardens.

Tailorbirds get their name from the way their nest is constructed. The edges of a large leaf are pierced and sewn together with plant fibre or spider's web to make a cradle in which the actual grass nest is built.

Tailorbird Baby and nest


The genus contains 13 species:[3]

Image Common Name Scientific Name Distribution
  Common tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia and Vietnam
  Dark-necked tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis Bangladesh, Northeast India and Southeast Asia.
Cambodian tailorbird Orthotomus chaktomuk[4] Cambodia
Philippine tailorbird Orthotomus castaneiceps Philippines
Trilling tailorbird Orthotomus chloronotus Philippines.
Rufous-fronted tailorbird Orthotomus frontalis eastern Philippines
Grey-backed tailorbird Orthotomus derbianus Philippines (Palawan, Luzon and Catanduanes)
  Rufous-tailed tailorbird Orthotomus sericeus Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
  Ashy tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, Vietnam.
  Olive-backed tailorbird Orthotomus sepium Java, Madura Island, Bali and Lombok.
Yellow-breasted tailorbird Orthotomus samarensis Philippines.
Black-headed tailorbird Orthotomus nigriceps Philippines ( Mindanao, Dinagat and Siargao. )
White-eared tailorbird Orthotomus cinereiceps Philippines (Basilan and West Mindanao.)

Two species moved to the Cettiidae:


  1. ^ Del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A.; Christie D., eds. (2006). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 978-84-96553-42-2.
  2. ^ Alström, Per; Ericson, P.G.P.; Olsson, U.; Sundberg, P. (2006). "Phylogeny and classification of the avian superfamily Sylvioidea". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 38 (2): 381–397. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.05.015. PMID 16054402.
  3. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2017). "Grassbirds, Donacobius, Malagasy warblers, cisticolas & allies". World Bird List Version 7.3. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  4. ^ Mahood, S. P.; et al. (2013). "A new species of lowland tailorbird (Passeriformes: Cisticolidae: Orthotomus ) from the Mekong floodplain of Cambodia" (PDF). Forktail. 29: 1–14.


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