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Old World Warblers: Sylviidae

Zitting Cisticola (cisticola Juncidis): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Also called the fantailed warbler, the fantailed cisticola, and the streaked cisticola, this bird is 3.9 to 4.7 inches (10 to 12 centimeters) long and weighs 0.3 to 0.4 ounces (8 to 12 grams). It has a brown body streaked with black, reddish sides and rump, and a black and white spotted belly. It has a small thin bill, short round wings, and a small tail.

Geographic range: These birds can be found in Spain, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, the Mediterranean, India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and the north coast of Australia.

Habitat: The zitting cisticola prefers grassy wetlands as well as some cultivated areas, like sugar cane and grain fields.

Diet: This species eats insect larvae (LAR-vee), spiders, and insects, especially grasshoppers and beetles.

Behavior and reproduction: The zitting cisticola takes insects and insect larvae on the ground. It stays in permanent territories but will Male zitting cisticolas build a "show" nest to attract a female, and the female builds the "real" nest, where she lays her eggs. (Illustration by Barbara Duperron. Reproduced by permission.) move away from the nesting regions after the young can fly. Mediterranean populations are migratory.

The song of the zitting cisticola is a string of a sharp "zit" notes emitted in half-second to one-second intervals.

The males of this species are serially monogamous. Males can mate with one to eleven females in a year. Sometimes, some males will mate with many females at the same time.

Male zitting cisticolas build show nests close to the ground and signal to females by singing. The female builds the real nest, a pear-shaped bag, constructed by weaving and sewing plant fibers and spider webs. She lays two to six eggs and incubates them for eleven to fifteen days. The female feeds the young for ten to twenty days until they leave the nest.

Zitting cisticolas and people: There is no special significance to humans.

Conservation status: This species is not considered to be threatened. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsOld World Warblers: Sylviidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Zitting Cisticola (cisticola Juncidis): Species Accounts, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (polioptila Caerulea): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, OLD WORLD WARBL