African Tailorbird Artisornis metopias Scientific name definitions

Flemming P. Jensen and Peter F. D. Boesman
Version: 2.0 — Published December 23, 2022

Photos from this Account

Adult African Tailorbird (subspecies metopias)
African Tailorbird.
Possible confusion species: Long-billed Tailorbird (Artisornis moreaui).

The similar Long-billed Tailorbird has dull reddish-brown only on the forehead and around the eyes, gray-brown upperparts, and a notably longer bill.

Possible confusion species: Chapin's Apalis (Apalis chapini).

Chapin's Apalis also has a reddish head but is a larger and generally grayish species with a longer tail, tipped whitish; it is mainly a canopy species, whereas African Tailorbird occurs mostly in the undergrowth.

Juvenile African Tailorbird, possibly having commenced Preformative Molt (subspecies metopias).

The filamentous body feathering indicates a juvenile. The rust head feathering may be typical of this plumage or represent incoming formative feathering. Note also the very dull brown iris.

Possible Formative African Tailorbird (subspecies metopias).

The gray upperwing coverts contrasting with the brown remiges indicates that the preformative molt may be partial and formative plumage identifiable. Note also the brownish iris.

Possible Formative African Tailorbird (subspecies metopias).

Note the replaced (formative) central rectrices contrasting with the retained (juvenile) outer rectrices, indicating a partial preformative molt. The inner two tertials may also be replaced. The iris appears tinged with brown.

Probable Definitive Basic African Tailorbird (subspecies metopias).

Note the uniform wing and tail feathers, indicating a complete previous molt. Examination of Macaulay images suggests that juvenile feathers are retained during the preformative molt and that birds following complete feather replacement would be in definitive basic plumage.

Probable Definitive Basic African Tailorbird (subspecies metopias).

The broader glossy wing feathers and rectrices, without apparent molt limits. Note also the elongated occipital feathers at the back of the crown. The iris is tinged orange.

Probable Definitive Basic African Tailorbird (subspecies metopias).

Note the uniform wing coverts and remiges, not showing molt limits. The iris is tinged orange.

Probable first-year African Tailorbird (subspecies metopias).

During the first year, the iris can ramin brownish but becomes reddish brown with age.

Probable adult African Tailorbird (subspecies metopias).

In adults, the iris can be tinged orange.

Adult ventral view (subspecies metopias).
Habitat; Magamba Forest Reserve, West Usambara Mountains, Tanzania.

Macaulay Library Photos for African Tailorbird

Top-rated photos submitted to the Macaulay Library via eBird. Note: Our content editors have not confirmed the species identification for these photos.

Recommended Citation

Jensen, F. P. and P. F. D. Boesman (2022). African Tailorbird (Artisornis metopias), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.afrtai2.02