Golden-headed Cisticola

Golden-headed Cisticola clutching a thin vertical shoot

What does it look and sound like? Cisticolas are distinguished by their rich golden plumage and pale pink-yellow legs. During the breeding season the male Golden-headed Cisticola attains a beautiful, unstreaked, golden crown. The female retains a streaked crown, similar to that of the non-breeding male. The song is a drawn out ‘zzzzt’, also a repeated metallic ‘link-link’ and a harsh ‘zeep’ in alarm. The Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis, an uncommon resident of Australia’s north coast, differs from the Golden-headed Cisticola in having a white-tipped tail.

What are its habitats and habits? Cisticolas, like reed-warblers and grassbirds, inhabit grasslands, normally in the vicinity of water. They are conspicuous birds during the breeding season, often seen singing from an exposed perch at the top of tall grasses or performing their melodious display flights. At other times of the year they are generally quiet and unobtrusive as they feed low down in dense grass tussocks.

Scientific name: Cisticola exilis

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