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Sylvietta rufescens (Long-billed crombec) 

Bosveldstompstert [Afrikaans]; iNdibilitshe [Zulu]; Simpanda [Kwangali]; Ngcunywane [Swazi]; Nqcunu [Tsonga]; Kaapse krombek [Dutch]; Crombec long bec [French]; Langschnabel-sylvietta, Kurzschwanz-sylvietta [German]; Rabicurta-de-bico-comprido [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Sylviidae > Genus: Sylvietta

Sylvietta rufescens (Long-billed crombec)  Sylvietta rufescens (Long-billed crombec) 

Long-billed crombec. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ]

Long-billed crombec on nest. [photo Peter Steyn ]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from eastern DRC, Angola and Zambia south to southern Africa. Here it is common in arid savanna, the Okavango Delta, mixed-species woodland with well-developed undergrowth, gardens, Acacia thickets, Mopane & Miombo woodland.

Distribution of Long-billed crombec in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project ( Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Klaas's cuckoo.


It mainly eats invertebrates, supplemented with seeds and fruit. Often foraging in mixed-species flocks, it gleans food from the leaves and branches of bushes and trees. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Invertebrates
  • Plants
    • seeds
    • fruit, including grapes
    • nectar
      • Aloe greatheadii (Spotted aloe)
      • Aloe marlothii (Mountain aloe)


  • The nest is constructed in about 7-10 days, consisting of a bag-like cup of stringy plant fibres, leaves, grass and spider web. Often it is decorated with leaves, rotten wood chips and lumps of spider web and lined with dry grass. It is typically strung from a droopy tree branch or in the depths of a bush.
  • Egg-laying season is from August-March, peaking from September-January.
  • It lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for roughly 14 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 14 days. After at least 10 days they become fully independent.


Not threatened, in fact common across southern Africa.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

  • Harrison, J.A., Allan, D.G., Underhill, L.G., Herremans, M., Tree. A.J., Parker, V. & Brown, C.J. (eds). 1997. The atlas of southern African birds. Vol. 2: Passerines. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.