Pale-crowned Cisticola

Pale-crowned Cisticola


One of the "cloud-scrapers", the Pale-Crowned Cisticola is extremely difficult to distinguish visually, meaning its call is your best chance of distinguishing it. However, its call is normally given while flying high in the sky which makes it tricky to see and a highly sought after sighting for birders. Junior Gabela can help you get close to this elusive bird.


The Pale-Crowned Cisticola can be found in various places in Africa, but within South Africa, it can only be found in the eastern parts from the Lower Drakensberg through the Mist-Belt grasslands in Kwazulu-Natal, and migrating to the east coast in winter.

Where To Find

The Pale-Crowned Cisticola is located in grasslands, often near water drainage or wet patches alone or in small groups. They sing while in high level flight and dive back down to the ground, often disappearing into the grass or perching on grass stems.

How To Id

The Pale-Crowned Cisticola is best identified through its song, which is normally made in high-level flight. If you only see one, they can only really be identified in Spring and Summer by their light, plain head with no streaks. During breeding season, the males also perform elaborate displays of diving and singing that are unique and distinctive once you get to know them.

Conservation Status

The Pale-Crowned Cisticola is not officially threatened but their habitat of grassland is under constant threat and the further inevitable reduction of this available habitat will certainly affect the land they can potentially use.

Book Now

If you are looking to add this small inconspicuous bird to your life-list, or are having trouble with it and its similar cisticola friends, Junior Gabela has in-depth knowledge of these birds’ habits, behaviours and preferred nesting sites. Be sure to add it to your wishlist when making a booking with Zululand Birding with Junior Gabela and he will do his best to get you as close as possible to it.