Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Pale-crowned Cisticola (Cisticola cinnamomeus)


French: Cisticole châtaine German: Zimtzistensänger Spanish: Cistícola castaño
Other common names: Wetland Cisticola (“taciturnus”)

Cisticola cinnamomea


, 1904,

Ngomingi, Uhehe District, south Tanzania


See C. brunnescens. Coastal populations in S Mozambique and E South Africa, described as race taciturnus, were even suggested to be a separate species, but not widely accepted and currently retained in egregius. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. midcongo Lynes, 1938 – SE Gabon, Congo and adjacent W DRCongo.
  • C. c. cinnamomeus Reichenow, 1904 – C & E Angola, SE DRCongo, Zambia, S Tanzania, Zimbabwe and N Botswana.
  • C. c. egregius (Roberts, 1913) – S Mozambique and E South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    10 cm; 8–11 g. A small cisticola with short, rounded tail and streaked upperparts. Male nominate race breeding has dark yellowish-brown supercilium, large dark loral... read more


    Male song, from perch or in aerial display, a repeated series of 4–8 high-pitched, slightly... read more


    Short, moist grassland, usually around marshes and drainage lines; found in wetter, more marshy... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mainly small insects and other invertebrates, including wasps and ants (Hymenoptera), flies (Diptera), beetles (Coleoptera),... read more


    Breeds Oct–May (mainly Nov–Jan), during rains. Monogamous; solitary, territorial. Female in non-breeding plumage with two... read more


    Mainly resident; may move locally according to environmental conditions. Regarded as an altitudinal... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not assessed. Locally common. Density of up to 0·2 pairs/ha in Zambia. Status in Botswana uncertain; possibly only a vagrant. This species’ wetland habitat is... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. & Dean, R. (2019). Pale-crowned Cisticola (Cisticola cinnamomeus). 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).