Cisticola cantans (Singing cisticola) 

Singende tinktinkie [Afrikaans]; Witbrauw-graszanger [Dutch]; Cisticole chanteuse [French]; Grauer zistensänger [German]; Fuinha-cantora [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 cantans (Singing cisticola)   

Singing cisticola, Juliasdale, Zimbabwe. [K Vang, W Dabrowka/ Bird Explorers / AFBID ©]


Distribution and habitat

It occurs patchily from West Africa to Uganda through Tanzania south to southern Africa. Here it locally common in moist riverine vegetation, especially with scattered trees, bracken (Pteridium) and brier (Smilax), also occupying edges of riverine forest.

Distribution of Singing 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 eats a variety of small invertebrates, doing most of its foraging near the ground in undergrowth. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is an oval or ball shape with a side entrance, built of dry grass secured with spider web, and lined with soft plant down. It is typically attached to the leaves of a shrub, herb or bush, usually less then 60 centimetres above ground.
  • Egg-laying season is from November-April, peaking from December-January.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 12-14 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 16 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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