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Cisticola textrix (Cloud cisticola) 

Gevlekte klopkloppie [Afrikaans]; Igqaza (also applied to Wing-snapping cisticola) [Xhosa]; iBhoyibhoyi (also applied to Wing-snapping cisticola) [Zulu]; Motintinyane (generic term for cisticolas and prinias) [South Sotho]; Tinktink-graszanger [Dutch]; Cisticole pinc-pinc [French]; Pinkpink [German]; Fuinha-das-nuvens [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 textrix (Cloud cisticola)   

Cloud cisticola, Darling, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ]


Distribution and habitat

Although it has isolated populations across Angola, southern DRC and Zambia, it is most common in South Africa. Here it prefers open grassland with patches of bare soil, both tall and short varieties, occasionally in love grass (Eragrostis) pastures and clumps of restios.

Distribution of Cloud 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 invertebrates, especially grasshoppers (Orthoptera) but also spiders, foraging in the undergrowth and bare soil.


  • The nest is a ball shape with a side entrance, built of dry grass and lined with plant down. It is typically placed close to the ground in a grass tuft, the leaves of which are incorporated into then nest, effectively concealing it.
  • Egg-laying season is from August-March.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for about 14 days.
  • Little is know about the chicks, other then that they leave the nest after about 15-16 days.


Not threatened, although transformation of grasslands to croplands in South Africa's central plateau is cause for concern. Also, it has not adapted well to the introduction of alien plants, housing development and agriculture in the Western Cape.


  • 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.