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Cisticola chiniana (Rattling cisticola) 

Bosveldtinktinkie [Afrikaans]; iNqoba [Zulu]; Harudeve (generic term for cisticola or prinia) [Kwangali]; Timba (generic name for cisticolas and warblers) [Shona]; Jekwa [Swazi]; Mantsiyana [Tsonga]; LekgÍrÍ [Tswana]; Ratelgraszanger [Dutch]; Cisticole grinÁante [French]; Rotscheitel-zistensšnger [German]; Fuinha-chocalheira [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 chiniana (Rattling cisticola) Cisticola chiniana (Rattling cisticola)

Rattling cisticola, Shamvura, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Rattling cisticola, Mkuze Game Reserve, South Africa
. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from Ethiopia south to through the DRC, Tanzania, Angola and Zambia to southern Africa. Here it is locally common in Acacia savanna, young woodland on old cultivated land, gardens and patches of bush in open grassland.

Distribution of Rattling 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.  

Predators and parasites

It has been recorded as prey of the following animals:

One bird was found with fowl-pox and with ticks (Hyalomma rufipes) blocking its ears.

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Diderick cuckoo and Brown-backed honeyguide.


It mainly eats invertebrates, often foraging in the undergrowth and on the ground, occasionally plucking termite alates from the air. 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. It is typically attached with spider web to a grass tuft, shrub, Acacia sapling or a fallen branch's foliage, usually up to 1.2 metres high.
  • Egg-laying season is from October-April, peaking from about November-January.
  • It lays 2-5 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for roughly 13-14 days.
  • The chicks stay in the nest for about 13-15 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.