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Cisticola erythrops (Red-faced cisticola) 

Rooiwangtinktinkie [Afrikaans]; Harudeve (generic term for cisticola or prinia) [Kwangali]; Timba (generic name for cisticolas and warblers) [Shona]; Roodmasker-graszanger [Dutch]; Cisticole à face rousse [French]; Rotgesicht-zistensänger [German]; Fuinha-de-faces-vermelhas [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

isticola erythrops (Red-faced cisticola)   

Red-faced cisticola. [photo Neil Gray ©]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs patchily across sub-Saharan Africa, in West Africa and from Ethiopia through southern DRC and Zambia to southern Africa. Here it locally common, preferring tall, moist grassland in marshes, along watercourses and reedbeds; it may also occupy dense vegetation on dry slopes.

Distribution of Red-faced 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 eats a variety of insects, doing most of its foraging low down in the undergrowth. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest (see image below) is oval-shaped with a side entrance, built of leaves and dry grass secured with spider web, with an outer shell of living leaves. A soft plant down lining is added by the female during incubation. It is typically incorporated into the foliage of a herb, shrub, forb or small tree, usually less than half a metre above ground.
Cisticola erythrops (Red-faced cisticola)   

Red-faced cisticola nest, Hazyview, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from October-March, peaking from about December-February.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated mainly by the female for about 12-16 days.
  • At first the chicks are brooded by the female, while the male regularly brings her and her young food. They usually stay in the nest for about 14-16 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.