Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Rufous Cisticola (Cisticola rufus)


French: Cisticole rousse German: Rostzistensänger Spanish: Cistícola rojizo

Drymoica rufa


, 1843,

Benue River, Idah, Niger River, Nigeria


See C. fulvicapilla. Monotypic.


Senegal, Mali and NW Sierra Leone E, patchily, to Nigeria, N Cameroon, S Chad and W Central African Republic.

Descriptive notes

10 cm; 6–9 g. A small, plain-backed cisticola with short to medium-length graduated tail. Has buffy-brown face, slightly paler supraloral stripe; warm brown above,... read more


Male song a series of high-pitched whistles, “see hu” or “see si hu”, easily confused with that of... read more


Confined to Sudan-Guinea savanna biome; occurs in semi-arid scrub and grassy savannas, often along... read more

Food and feeding

Diet mainly insects. Usually in pairs. Forages on the ground and by gleaning vegetation; behaves like a small wren (Troglodytidae),... read more


Nesting Jun–Oct in Ghana. Probably monogamous; solitary, territorial. Male sings from top of small tree. Nest built inside green... read more


Little known; presumably mostly resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally common. Populations recently reported from NW Sierra Leone; species is possibly more widely distributed within its currently... read more

Recommended citation

Ryan, P. (2019). Rufous Cisticola (Cisticola rufus). 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 21 August 2019).