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Cisticola ayresii (Wing-snapping cisticola, Ayres' cisticola) 

Kleinste klopkloppie [Afrikaans]; Igqaza (also applied to Cloud cisticola), Unogqaza, Uqandiliso [Xhosa]; iBhoyibhoyi (also applied to Cloud cisticola) [Zulu]; Motintinyane (generic term for cisticolas and prinias) [South Sotho]; Dwerggraszanger [Dutch]; Cisticole gratte-nuage [French]; Zwergpinkpink [German]; Fuinha de Ayres [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 ayresii (Wing-snapping cisticola, Ayres' cisticola)   

Wing-snapping cisticola, Cedara Farm, Pietermaritzburg, South Afirica. [photo Alan Manson ]


For information about this species, see www.birdforum.net/opus/Wing-snapping_Cisticola

Distribution and habitat

It has scattered population across Africa south of the Sahel, centered on the DRC but also occurring in southern Africa. Here it is locally common in Zimbabwe, central Mozambique and South Africa, preferring short grassland with patches of bare ground (e.g. on airfields).

Distribution of Wing-snapping 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). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  


It mainly eats inveretebrates, plucking them from grass stems and bare soil. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is a small ball-shape with an entrance on the side, built of dry grass loosely secured with spider web. It is typically placed in a tuft of grass facing a patch of bare soil, with some of the living grass stems bent over the nest to form the roof.
  • Egg-laying season is from September-March.
  • It lays 2-5 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for 11-14 days.
  • The chicks stay in the nest for about 14-15 days.


Not threatened, although destruction of grassland on South Africa's central plateau to make way for croplands is cause for concern.


  • 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.