Cisticola aberrans (Lazy cisticola) 

Luitinktinkie [Afrikaans]; Ungxengezi, Uqume [Xhosa]; uNgcede [Zulu]; Timba (generic name for cisticolas and warblers) [Shona]; Matinti (generic term for cisticola) [Tsonga]; Langstaart-graszanger [Dutch]; Cisticole paresseuse [French]; Smiths zistensänger [German]; Fuinha-preguiçosa [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: Cisticolidae > Genus: Cisticola

Cisticola aberrans (Lazy cisticola)
Lazy cisticola, Thabazimbi, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

It occurs from Malawi and Zambia through Mozambique to southern Africa. Here it is locally common in Zimbabwe and eastern South Africa, preferring rocky outcrops in woodland, open boulder-strewn hillsides with scattered bushes and trees, forest edges and occasionally gardens.

Distribution of Lazy cisticola 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 Brown-backed honeyguide.


It mainly eats insects, doing most of its foraging near caves or rock crevices with surrounding vegetation. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:



  • The nest is ball-shaped with a side-top entrance, typically built of dry grass and lined with soft plant down. It is typically placed in a tuft of grass in thorny scrub, or in a tangle of grass and herbs.
  • Egg-laying season is from September-April, peaking from Octover-November.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for about 13-15 days.
  • The chicks are mainly cared for by the female, leaving the nest after about 13-14 days, becoming fully independent about 21-30 days later.


Not threatened.


  • 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. 



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