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Cisticola cinnamomeus (Pale-crowned cisticola) 

[= Cisticola brunnescens

Bleekkopklopkloppie [Afrikaans]; Kadhi-idhi-i, Timba (generic names for cisticola) [Shona]; bleekkop-graszanger [Dutch]; Cisticole châtain [French]; Blaßkopfpinkpink [German]; Fuinha-de-coroa-pálida [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 cinnamomeus (Pale-crowned cisticola)  Cisticola cinnamomeus (Pale-crowned cisticola) 

Pale-crowned cisticola, Ozambeni, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Pale-crowned cisticola, Wakkerstroom, South Africa. [photo Johan van Rensburg ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from Cameroon through southern DRC, Angola and Zambia to southern Africa. Here it is locally common in Zimbabwe, South Africa and southern Mozambique, preferring moist grassland, grassy drainage lines and poorly drained areas in woodland and on airfields.

Distribution of Pale-crowned 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 insects and small spiders, doing most of its foraging at the bases of grass tufts.


  • The nest (see image below) is a vertically-positioned oval built of live grass bound with spider web, lined with soft plant down. It is typically placed in a thick clump of grass very near ground level.
Cisticola cinnamomeus (Pale-crowned cisticola)  

Pale-crowned cisticola nest with eggs, Wakkerstroom, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from November-May, peaking from December-January.
  • It lays 2-5 eggs, which are probably incubated for about 11-13 days.
  • The chicks stay in the nest for about 12-14 days.


Not threatened, although transformation of grassland into farmland in South Africa 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.