Cisticola brachypterus (Short-winged cisticola) 

[= Cisticola brachyptera

Kortvlerktinktinkie [Afrikaans]; Kortvleugel-graszanger [Dutch]; Cisticole à ailes courtes [French]; Kurzflügel-zistensänger [German]; Fuinha-d'asa-curta [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 brachypterus (Short-winged cisticola)  

Short-winged cisticola, Shai Hills, Ghana. [photo Nik Borrows ©]


Distribution and habitat

It is widespread across sub-Saharan Africa, occurring from west Africa to Ethiopia south to the southern African part of Mozambique. Here it is locally common in clearings in woodland, especially miombo (Brachystegia) but also other types of savanna woodland. It also occupies thickets with termite mounds, vegetation along drainage lines and edges of cultivated areas. 

Distribution of Short-winged 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).


It mainly eats insects, foraging unobtrusively in grass tufts and on the ground. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is a compact ball shape with a side entrance, built of dry grass and leaves reinforced with spider web. It is typically placed very near the ground in a grass tuft or small shrub.
  • In Zimbabwe the egg-laying season is from November-March.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 14 days.
  • The chicks stay in the nest for about 17 days.


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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