The rattling cisticola

The rattling cisticola is a species of bird in the Cisticolidae family. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan,Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitat is dry savanna.

 

Predators and parasites

It has been recorded as prey of the following animals:

  • Accipiter melanoleucus (Black sparrowhawk)
  • Tyto alba (Barn owl)

One bird was found with fowl-pox and with ticks (Hyalomma rufipes) blocking its ears.

 

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Diderick cuckoo and Brown-backed honeyguide.

 

Food 

It mainly eats invertebrates, often foraging in the undergrowth and on the ground, occasionally plucking termite alates from the air. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Insects
    • Coleoptera (beetles and weevils)
    • termites
    • Orthoptera (crickets and grasshoppers)
    • Diptera (flies)
    • ants
    • caterpillars (larval stage of Lepidoptera)
  • Snails
  • Nectar
    • Aloe marlothii (Mountain aloe)
    • Aloe greatheadii (Spotted aloe)

 

Breeding

  • The nest is an oval or ball shape with a side entrance, built of dry grass secured with spider web. It is typically attached with spider web to a grass tuft, shrub, Acacia sapling or a fallen branch's foliage, usually up to 1.2 metres high.
  • Egg-laying season is from October-April, peaking from about November-January.
  • It lays 2-5 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for roughly 13-14 days.
  • The chicks stay in the nest for about 13-15 days.

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