Saturday, 24 October 2015

Rattling cisticola

Cisticola chiniana

(Photo from Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
rattling cisticola (en); fuinha-chocalheira (pt); cisticole grinçante (fr); cistícola cascabel (es); rotscheitel-zistenänger (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Cisticolidae

This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from Ethiopia south to D.R. Congo, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia and Mozambique, and into northern Namibia, Botswana and north-eastern South Africa.

These birds are 12-15 cm long and weigh 10-21 g.

The rattling cisticola is mostly found in dry grasslands and savannas, particularly in reas dominated by Acacia, but also use dry scrublands, old plantations, rural gardens and arable land. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

They feed on various insects and other small invertebrates, including beetles, termite alates,  grasshoppers, flies, ants, caterpillars and snails. They are also known to take nectar from Aloe plants.

Rattling cisticolas breed in October-April. The nest is an oval or ball shaped structure with a side entrance, made of dry grass secured with spider webs. It is typically attached with spider web to a grass tuft, shrub, Acacia sapling or to the foliage of a fallen branch, usually up to 1.2 m above the ground. there the female lays 2-5 eggs which she incubates alone for 13-14 days. The chicks fledge 13-15 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as locally common to abundant, with wide variations in abundance across its range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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