Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Lazy Cisticola (Cisticola aberrans)


French: Cisticole paresseuse German: Langschwanz-Zistensänger Spanish: Cistícola perezoso

Drymoica aberrans

A. Smith

, 1843,

Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Hitherto considered conspecific with C. bailunduensis (which see). Races from W & E Africa S to N Tanzania and Burundi sometimes treated as a separate species on basis of spotted tail and narrow habitat preferences, but lurio is intermediate. Proposed race teitensis (SE Kenya) synonymized with emini. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. admiralis Bates, 1930 – locally from S Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Mali E to Ghana, Togo and N Benin.
  • C. a. petrophilus Alexander, 1907 – Nigeria and Cameroon E to S South Sudan and NE DRCongo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
  • C. a. emini Reichenow, 1892 – Rock-loving Cisticola – S Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • C. a. nyika Lynes, 1930 – SW Tanzania, Zambia, W Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique (W of Rift Valley).
  • C. a. lurio Vincent, 1933 – E Malawi and N Mozambique (E of Rift Valley).
  • C. a. aberrans (A. Smith, 1843) – Lazy Cisticola – SE Botswana and South African Plateau.
  • C. a. minor Roberts, 1913 – coastal plain of S Mozambique, E Swaziland and E & SE South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–14 cm; male 13·1–16·9 g, female 10·5–16 g. A medium-sized, rather plain-backed cisticola with long and slender (especially in S... read more


    Typical call of S races a plaintive, wailing “zweeee”, repeated and interspersed by... read more


    Largely confined to rocky slopes with grass and scattered bushes and trees in N of range. S... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mainly insects, including caterpillars and small butterflies (Lepidoptera), grasshoppers (Orthoptera), and adult and larval... read more


    Nesting in May–Oct in W Africa (e.g. Ghana) and Sept–Apr in E & S Africa, e.g. Dec–Feb in Malawi and Nov–Dec in... read more


    Little known; presumably mostly resident. Two reported from coast of Liberia (Monrovia) during... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common in S of range and in E Cape of South Africa is believed to have expanded into the niche occupied by C. chiniana... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P., Dean, R. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Lazy Cisticola (Cisticola aberrans). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 16 September 2019).