Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis) Zong shanweiying

(10 cm.) Small; heavily streaked back; white tip on tail; reddish-brown rump.

The Zitting Cisticola is a small bird which used to be included in the family of warblers. This species, along with other cisticolas and prinias, now constitute the family, “Cisticolidae.” Its former name is Streaked Fantail Warbler.

The Zitting Cisticola looks like a small brown warbler with its slender body and long, thin bill. Its bill is an adaptation for capturing the insects which form the largest part of its diet. As its former name suggests, this species is heavily-streaked with black on its brown back. Its white-tipped tail is often spread widely open like a fan. The underparts of this bird are white.

This species is found in grasslands near water where large numbers of insects are likely to be found. Cisticolas are generally non-migratory birds that live in warm climates that can offer an insect population all year long The Zitting Cisticola is a resident bird throughout its Chinese range as it is only found in the southeast region of the country from just south of Shanghai in the North down to the South Coast including Hainan and Taiwan.

The nesting season of the Zitting Cisticola is generally in accordance with the rainy season during its breeding season. The male of the species builds the foundation of a nest, and he displays the quality of his craftsmanship to prospective mates as part of his courtship effort. If a female accepts his invitation to mate, the pair of birds will complete the nest together. The male bird will also hover above a prospective female while calling to her during courtship.

The female lays 3-6 eggs in the completed nest which is a cup-shaped structure with a canopy for protection. The Zitting Cisticola is a polygamous species which will change mates and raise more than one brood per breeding season.


Zitting Cisticola (Photo by JM Garg)

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