|C. c. frater in Namibia|
|C. c. humilis song recorded in Kenya|
The rattling cisticola (Cisticola chiniana) is a species of bird in the family Cisticolidae which is native to Africa south of the equator, and parts of East Africa. It is a common to abundant species in open savanna and scrubland habitats, whether in arid, moist or upland regions. Especially during summer, it is highly conspicuous due to its strident and repetitive call-notes from prominent perches.
It is found in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Republic of the Congo, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Its natural habitat is arid, mesic or moist savannas and woodland, often dominated by thorn trees or thorn shrub (Dichrostachys, etc.). It is however also commonly found in miombo and mopane woodland, and is one of the commonest bird species on the Mozambican coastal plain. It is also present in the Eastern Highlands and the East African uplands below 2,000 m. In addition it utilizes some ecotones including edges of cultivation, fringes of dense woodland and woodland fringing the Okavango delta.
Tinkling cisticola replaces it in stunted broad-leaved woodland and dry deciduous woodland on sandy substrates, while various Cisticola species replace it in marshy situations. It co-occurs with various Prinia species.
Especially in summer, much time is spent calling prominently from the top of a tree or bush. The strident call can be rendered as "chee-chee chichi-chirrrrr", but varies somewhat from individual to individual.
Some seventeen subspecies are accepted:
- C. c. simplex (Heuglin, 1869)
- Range: South Sudan and DRC to Uganda
- C. c. fortis Lynes, 1930
- Range: Gabon, the Congos and Angola to Zambia
- C. c. fricki Mearns, 1913
- Range: Ethiopian and northern Kenyan highlands
- C. c. humilis Madarász, 1904
- Range: eastern Ugandan and western Kenyan highlands
- C. c. ukamba Lynes, 1930
- Range: highlands of C Kenya and N Tanzania.
- C. c. heterophrys Oberholser, 1906
- Range: Kenyan and Tanzanian coastal plains
- C. c. victoria Lynes, 1930
- Range: eastern circumference of Lake Victoria
- C. c. fischeri Reichenow, 1891
- Range: Tanzania
- C. c. keithi Parkes, 1987
- Range: Tanzania
- C. c. mbeya Parkes, 1987
- Range: Tanzania
- C. c. emendatus Vincent, 1944
- Range: southern Tanzania, Malawi and northern Mozambique
- C. c. procerus W.K.H.Peters, 1868
- Range: eastern Zambia to central Mozambique
- C. c. bensoni Traylor, 1964
- Range: southern Zambia
- C. c. smithersi B.P.Hall, 1956
- Range: upper Zambezi river region
- C. c. chiniana (A.Smith, 1843)
- Range: central plateau of southern Africa
- C. c. frater Reichenow, 1916
- Range: Namibia
- C. c. campestris Gould, 1845
- Range: eastern coastal plain of southern Africa
- BirdLife International (2012). "Cisticola chiniana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Ginn, Peter (1981). Birds of the Highveld (3rd impr. ed.). Salisbury: Longman. p. 72. ISBN 0582608902.
- Harrison, J. A., ed. (1997). The Atlas of Southern African birds: Vol.2 Passerines (PDF). Johannesburg: BirdLife South Africa. pp. 302–303. ISBN 0-620-20730-2. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
- Zimmerman, Dale A.; et al. (1999). Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Princeton University Press. p. 248, 577. ISBN 0691010226.
- Ryan, P.; Dean, R. (2017). "Rattling Cisticola (Cisticola chiniana)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
- Rattling cisticola - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds.
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