Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Tiny Cisticola (Cisticola nana)


French: Cisticole naine German: Dornbusch-Zistensänger Spanish: Cistícola enano

Cisticola nana

G. A. Fischer and Reichenow

, 1884,

Ngaruka, near Arusha, north Tanzania


Original species name is a noun, and thus invariable. Monotypic.


SE South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, SW Somalia and N & E Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

9–10 cm; 5–10 g. A tiny, rather plain-backed cisticola with rufous crown and short graduated tail. Has creamy supraloral stripe contrasting with grey-brown lores... read more


Male song a series of clear, high-pitched whistles, “tidi-te-wi” or “t’che-... read more


Confined to Somali-Masai biome; occurs in arid and semi-arid acacia (Acacia) savanna and... read more

Food and feeding

Diet mainly insects, including caterpillars (Lepidoptera) and small red grasshoppers (Orthoptera). Forages on the ground and by gleaning... read more


Nests Jan and Apr–Jul. Probably monogamous; solitary, territorial. Male sings from top of bush or tree, makes short display flights... read more


Little known; presumably mostly resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common. First record for Uganda in 2011.

Recommended citation

Ryan, P. (2019). Tiny Cisticola (Cisticola nana). 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 20 August 2019).