Desert Cisticola

Cisticola aridulus

The desert cisticola, as its name suggests, is common in semi-arid and arid grasslands. It is very similar looking to its cousin; the zitting cisticola, but is considered to be paler and greyer in colouration. This being said, the only certain way of telling them apart is by their call; desert cisticola makes a “zink, zink, zink” call (as opposed to “zit” at one second intervals), and by their display behaviour.

I first recorded this medium-tailed cisticola in June 2011 while visiting Ezemvelo Nature Reserve near Bronkhorstspruit. This small reserve is a brilliant spot for seeing cisticolas and larks, including wing-snapping, desert, zitting and cloud cisticolas and rufous-naped, eastern clapper and spike-heeled larks.


Desert Cisticola / Pilansberg National Park, South Africa / 05 March 2011 Desert Cisticola / Vlaklaagte Roadside Routes near Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa / 20 October 2018 Desert Cisticola / De Tweedespruit Coervancy, South Africa / June 2020 Desert Cisticola / De Tweedespruit Coervancy, South Africa / June 2020 Desert Cisticola / De Tweedespruit Coervancy, South Africa / June 2020 Desert Cisticola / Vlaklaagte Roadside Routes near Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa / 20 October 2018 Desert Cisticola / Ezemvelo Nature Reserve, South Africa / 15 July 2011 Desert Cisticola / Devon, South Africa / 09 March 2013
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