Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Luapula Cisticola (Cisticola luapula)


French: Cisticole du Luapula German: Luapulazistensänger Spanish: Cistícola del Luapula

Cisticola galactotes luapula


, 1933,

Lake Bangweulu, north-east Zambia


See C. galactotes. Does not respond to playback of C. galactotes song in SW of its range, but more information needed from NE, where range abuts that of C. marginatus. Geographical variation limited; little evidence to support recognition of proposed races schoutedeni (NW Zambia) or stagnans (N Botswana). Monotypic.


E Angola, L Mweru, SE DRCongo, Zambia except extreme NE (reaches Bangweulu), N & NE Namibia, N Botswana and NW Zimbabwe.

Descriptive notes

12–14 cm. A medium-sized cisticola with boldly striped back, brightly patterned plumage and fairly long graduated tail. In breeding plumage has creamy face, ear-coverts... read more


Male song, from perch and in aerial display, a sharp “tidick tidick tidick…”; partners also give “... read more


Reedbeds, rank growth and emergent aquatic vegetation in water up to 0·5 m deep along edges of... read more

Food and feeding

Diet mainly small insects. Forages by gleaning reeds and adjacent vegetation, occasionally on the ground.


Breeds Nov–Apr. Probably monogamous; solitary, territorial. Male sings from perch for up to 5 minutes; in display flight, circles to... read more


Resident; in some areas, moves locally to floodplains in summer to breed.

Status and conservation

Not assessed. Common. Recorded density of up to 0·5 pairs/ha in NW Zimbabwe. Easily overlooked when not breeding.

Recommended citation

Ryan, P. (2019). Luapula Cisticola (Cisticola luapula). 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 17 September 2019).