Sunday, July 28, 2013

Z is for ZITTING CISTICOLA

I'm probably cheating a wee bit with this one the same as I did with the Yaffle bird but it was the closest I could get to a bird beginning with Z and one I'd not heard of before.

The Zitting Cisticola (or Fantail Warbler) is a widely distributed Old World warbler whose breeding range includes southern Europe, Africa (outside the deserts and rainforest), and southern Asia down to northern Australia.  It is mainly found in grasslands.   During the breeding season, males have a zigzagging flight display accompanied by regular 'zitting' calls that has been likened to repeated snips of a scissor.

This bird's colouring is mainly brown above, heavily streaked with black markings.  The underparts are whitish, and the tail is broad, white-tipped and flicked frequently, giving rise to the alternative name for the species.  The adult males have less crown streaking and more back marking then the females, but there are no great differences between the sexes or the eighteen geographical races.  The absence of a nuchal collar separates it from Cistocila exilis.  In the non-breeding season, they tend to skulk within the grass and can be hard to spot. 

This species is found mainly in grassland habitats, often near water.  Most populations are resident, but some East Asian populations migrate south to warmer areas in winter.  In the Himalayas, they ascend to about 1,900 metres (6,200 ft) during summer but are below 1,300 metres (4,300 ft) in the winter.  This species is a rare vagrant to northern Europe, mostly as a spring overshoot.  Its European range is generally expanding, although northern populations are especially susceptible to hard winters.


They are very small insectivorous birds, sometimes found in small groups.



The breeding season is associated with the rains.  Two broods a year occur in many regions.  Males are polygynous but some are monogamous.  The male builds the initial nest structure deep in the grasses, and invites females using a special display.  Females that accept the male complete the nest.  The nest is made by binding living leaves into the soft fabric of felted plant-down, cobwebs and grass.


The Zitting Cisticola's nest is a cup share with a canopy of tied-together leaves or grasses overhead for camouflage; 3-6 eggs are laid. The female incubates the eggs which hatch after about 10 days.  Females change their mates frequently and rarely stay within the same territory. While males are less mobile. Females can sometimes breed in their first year.




This is the last bird post so I am adding some pictures of this lovely little bird for no other reason than I find these photos absolutely delightful:








I have truly enjoyed finding out about so many beautiful and fascinating birds from all around the world including some of our own Australian species.  I hope those who have popped in have also enjoyed them.  I am asking a favour of people who do visit my blog.  Could you just say you've been here even if you don't wish to leave a comment.  I don't have many followers and it's nice always to know that someone has called in, however brielfly.  Thank you so much.

6 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Yes they also took my fancy so I had to share them. Glad you enjoyed them too.

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  2. I love the baby birds sitting together on a twig!
    I'm also quite amazed at the different birds you've found for us that I've never even heard of. Of course I don't know much more than magpies, parrots, cockatoos and sparrows.

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  3. In the first picture they seem to be having a nap; in the second it is obviously dinner time.
    It's been wonderful find out about so many different birds but we both know more than you listed...pelicans, swans, ducks, seagulls, ravens, crows, honeyeaters and so on but our knowledge now is even better than it was previously.

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  4. You have some fantastic captures of the birds. Especially love the foraging birds, the one with the parent bird feeding the little ones and the one in which the wings are in motion.

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  5. Thank you for visiting and I am glad you enjoyed these birds. They are very lovely and seem so happy.

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