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Cisticola

Cisticola
Zitting Cisticola
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Passeriformes
Family:Sylviidae
Genus:Cisticola

Cisticolas are very small insectivorous birds belonging to the Old World warbler family Sylviidae, and believed to be quite closely related to the swallows and martins[?], the Bulbuls, and the White-eyes[?] (which include the well-known Silvereye[?]). There are about 40 species in the genus.

They are widespread through the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Old World including Australia. Africa has the most species, and is probably the ancestral home of the group. Cisticolas are usually non-migratory

They occur in a variety of open habitats including grassy wetlands and drier grasslands. They are sometimes called fantail-warblers because of their habit of flicking their tails conspicuously, or tailor-birds because of their nests.

Cisticolas—pronounced sis-TIC-ola—are quite common within what remains of their preffered habitat—grassy swamps, weedy areas bordering water or irrigated pasture, and (in the tropics) the edges of mangrove swamps, though they are more easily heard than seen, and because of their small size (about 10 cm) not always easy to recognise, particularly in winter when they seldom emerge from their grasses. The many African species in particular are difficult to distinguish other than on call.

The Zitting Cisticola (or Fan-tailed Warbler) is widespread throughout the tropics and even breeds in southern Europe. It has occurred on a few occasions as a very rare vagrant to England.

In summer male Cisticolas make spectacular display flights and perch in prominent places to sing lustily. Despite his size and well-camouflaged, brown-streaked plumage, the male Golden-headed Cisticola of Australia produces a small, brilliant splash of golden-yellow colour in the dappled sunlight of a reed bed.

Male Cisticolas are polygamous; the female builds a discreet nest deep in the grasses, often binding living leaves into the soft fabric of felted plantdown, cobweb, and grass: a cup shape for the Zitting Cisticola with a canopy of tied-together leaves or grasses overhead for camouflage; a full dome for the Golden-headed species, which is widespread in Australia.

Species list:

Family Silviidae (sometimes separated as part of a new family Cisticolidae)

  • Red-faced Cisticola, Cisticola erythrops
  • Singing Cisticola, Cisticola cantans
  • Whistling Cisticola, Cisticola lateralis
  • Chattering Cisticola, Cisticola anonymus
  • Trilling Cisticola, Cisticola woosnami
  • Bubbling Cisticola, Cisticola bulliens
  • Chubb's Cisticola, Cisticola chubbi
  • Hunter's Cisticola, Cisticola hunteri
  • Black-lored Cisticola, Cisticola nigriloris
  • Rock-loving Cisticola, Cisticola aberrans
  • Boran Cisticola, Cisticola bodessa
  • Rattling Cisticola, Cisticola chiniana
  • Ashy Cisticola, Cisticola cinereolus
  • Red-pate Cisticola, Cisticola ruficeps
  • Dorst's Cisticola, Cisticola dorsti
  • Gray Cisticola, Cisticola rufilatus
  • Red-headed Cisticola, Cisticola subruficapillus
  • Wailing Cisticola, Cisticola lais
  • Tana River Cisticola, Cisticola restrictus
  • Churring Cisticola, Cisticola njombe
  • Winding Cisticola, Cisticola galactotes
  • Chirping Cisticola, Cisticola pipiens
  • Carruthers' Cisticola, Cisticola carruthersi
  • Tinkling Cisticola, Cisticola tinniens
  • Stout Cisticola, Cisticola robustus
  • Croaking Cisticola, Cisticola natalensis
  • Piping Cisticola, Cisticola fulvicapillus
  • Aberdare Cisticola, Cisticola aberdare
  • Tabora Cisticola, Cisticola angusticaudus
  • Slender-tailed Cisticola, Cisticola melanurus
  • Siffling Cisticola, Cisticola brachypterus
  • Rufous Cisticola, Cisticola rufus
  • Foxy Cisticola, Cisticola troglodytes
  • Tiny Cisticola, Cisticola nanus
  • Zitting Cisticola, Cisticola juncidis
  • Socotra Cisticola, Cisticola haesitatus
  • Madagascar Cisticola, Cisticola cherinus
  • Desert Cisticola, Cisticola aridulus
  • Cloud Cisticola, Cisticola textrix
  • Black-necked Cisticola, Cisticola eximius
  • Cloud-scraping Cisticola, Cisticola dambo
  • Pectoral-patch Cisticola, Cisticola brunnescens
  • Pale-crowned Cisticola, Cisticola cinnamomeus
  • Wing-snapping Cisticola, Cisticola ayresii
  • Golden-headed Cisticola, Cisticola exilis



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