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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Cladus: Avemetatarsalia
Cladus: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauriformes
Cladus: Dracohors
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Subordo: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Tyrannoraptora
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Paraves
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Cladus: Neoaves
Cladus: Telluraves
Cladus: Australaves
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Infraordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Sylvioidea

Familia: Cisticolidae
Genus: Cisticola
Species: C. aberdare – C. aberrans – C. angusticauda – C. anonymus – C. aridulus – C. ayresii – C. bodessa – C. brachypterus – C. brunnescens – C. bulliens – C. cantans – C. carruthersi – C. cherina – C. chiniana – C. chubbi – C. cinereolus – C. cinnamomeus – C. dambo – C. distinctus – C. emini – C. erythrops – C. exilis – C. eximius – C. fulvicapilla – C. galactotes – C. guinea – C. haematocephalus – C. haesitatus – C. hunteri – C. juncidis – C. lais – C. lateralis – C. luapula – C. lugubris – C. marginatus – C. melanurus – C. nana – C. natalensis – C. nigriloris – C. njombe – C. pipiens – C. restrictus – C. robustus – C. ruficeps – C. rufilatus – C. rufus – C. subruficapilla – C. textrix – C. tinniens – C. troglodytes – C. woosnami

Former species:

C. angolensis = Cisticola robustus angolensis
C. discolor = Cisticola chubbi discolor
C. incanus = Incana incana
C. lepe = Cisticola erythrops lepe
C. mongalla = Cisticola ruficeps mongalla


Cisticola Kaup, 1829

Skizzirte Entwickelungs-Geschichte und Naturliches System der Europäischen Thierwelt: 119.

Vernacular names
English: Cisticolas

Cisticolas are widespread through the Old World's tropical and sub-tropical regions. Africa, which is home to almost all species, is the most likely ancestral home of the group. Cisticolas are usually non-migratory with most species attached to and often distinguishable by their habitats.

A variety of open habitats are occupied. These include wetlands, moist or drier grasslands, open or rocky mountain slopes, and human-modified habitats such as road verges, cultivation, weedy areas or pasture. The species preferring wetlands can be found at the edges of mangrove, or in papyrus, common reed, or typha swamps. Cisticolas are generally quite common within what remains of their preferred habitats.

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 vagrant to England.
Male golden-headed cisticola and nest

Because of their small size (about 10 cm) and brown plumage, they are more easily heard than seen. The similar plumage of many species can make them hard to identify, particularly in winter when they seldom emerge from their grasses. Many African species, in particular, are difficult to distinguish other than by their calls. Thirteen species are named for their calls, from "singing" and "chirping" to "bubbling" and "siffling".

Male cisticolas are polygamous. The female builds a discreet nest deep in the grasses, often binding living leaves into the soft fabric of felted plant down, 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 cisticola. The average clutch is about 4 eggs, which take about 2 weeks to hatch. The parasitic weaver is a specialist parasite of cisticolas and prinias.

In summer, male cisticolas of smaller species make spectacular display flights while larger species perch in prominent places to sing lustily. Despite his size and well-camouflaged, brown-streaked plumage, the male golden-headed cisticola of Australia and southern Asia produces a small, brilliant splash of golden-yellow colour in the dappled sunlight of a reed bed.
List of species

The genus contains 50 species:[4]

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
Kilombero cisticola, Cisticola bakerorum[5]
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 guinea - formerly C. dorsti or included in C. ruficeps
Tinkling cisticola, Cisticola rufilatus
Red-headed cisticola, Cisticola subruficappila (formerly Grey-backed cisticola)
Wailing cisticola, Cisticola lais
Lynes's cisticola, Cisticola distinctus (sometimes considered as a subspecies of the wailing cistocola)[6]
Tana River cisticola, Cisticola restrictus
Churring cisticola, Cisticola njombe
Winding cisticola, Cisticola marginatus
Ethiopian cisticola, Cisticola lugubris
Coastal cisticola, Cisticola haematocephalus
White-tailed cisticola, Cisticola anderseni[5]
Luapula cisticola, Cisticola luapula
Rufous-winged cisticola, Cisticola galactotes
Chirping cisticola, Cisticola pipiens
Carruthers's cisticola, Cisticola carruthersi
Levaillant's cisticola, Cisticola tinniens
Stout cisticola, Cisticola robustus
Croaking cisticola, Cisticola natalensis
Piping cisticola, Cisticola fulvicapilla (formerly Neddicky cisticola)
Aberdare cisticola, Cisticola aberdare
Tabora cisticola, Cisticola angustacauda (formerly Long-tailed cisticola)
Slender-tailed cisticola, Cisticola melanurus (formerly Black-tailed cisticola)
Siffling cisticola, Cisticola brachypterus (formerly Short-winged)
Rufous cisticola, Cisticola rufus
Foxy cisticola, Cisticola troglodytes
Tiny cisticola, Cisticola nana
Zitting cisticola, Cisticola juncidis
Socotra cisticola, Cisticola haesitatus
Madagascar cisticola, Cisticola cherina
Desert cisticola, Cisticola aridulus
Cloud cisticola, Cisticola textrix
Black-backed cisticola, Cisticola eximius
Cloud-scraping cisticola, Cisticola dambo (formerly Dambo cisticola)
Pectoral-patch cisticola, Cisticola brunnescens
Pale-crowned cisticola, Cisticola cinnamomeus
Wing-snapping cisticola, Cisticola ayresii
Golden-headed cisticola, Cisticola exilis


Kaup, Johann Jakob (1829). Skizzirte Entwickelungs-Geschichte und natürliches System der europäischen Thierwelt (in German). Darmstadt: Carl Wilhelm Leske. p. 119.
Mayr, Ernst; Cottrell, G. William, eds. (1986). Check-list of Birds of the World. Vol. 11. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 84.
Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2017). "Grassbirds, Donacobius, Malagasy warblers, cisticolas & allies". World Bird List Version 7.3. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
Fjeldså, Jon; Dinesen, Lars; Davies, Owen R.; Irestedt, Martin; Krabbe, Niels K.; Hansen, Louis A.; Bowie, Rauri C. K. (2021). "Description of two new Cisticola species endemic to the marshes of the Kilombero floodplain of southwestern Tanzania". Ibis. 163 (4): 1330–1354. doi:10.1111/ibi.12971. ISSN 1474-919X. S2CID 236584599.

Ryan, P.; Dean, R. (2020). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Wailing Cisticola (Cisticola lais)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. doi:10.2173/bow.waicis1.01. S2CID 216324448. Retrieved 27 August 2017.

Further reading

Nguembock B.; Fjeldsa J.; Tillier A.; Pasquet E. (2007): A phylogeny for the Cisticolidae (Aves: Passeriformes) based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequence data, and a re-interpretation of a unique nest-building specialization. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 42: 272–286.
Ryan, Peter (2006). Family Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and allies). Pp. 378–492 in del Hoyo J., Elliott A. & Christie D.A. (2006) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 11. Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers Lynx Edicions, Barcelona ISBN 978-84-96553-06-4

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