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Golden-headed Cisticola - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 17:06, 12 June 2023 by THEFERN-13145 (talk | contribs) (→‎Identification)
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Alternative names: Gold-naped Cisticola, Gold-capped Cisticola, Bright-capped Cisticola, Yellow-headed Cisticola, Golden Cisticola, Bright-headed Cisticola

Photo © by Romy Ocon
Philippines, August 2006
Cisticola exilis


9 cm (3½ in)

  • Upperparts streaked
  • Tail rounded: shorter in breeding plumage

Male breeding plumage: golden/orangy crown and face

Similar species

Especially Zitting Cisticola. Call is the best distinction. Breeding male has an all-golden crown (Zitting has streaked). Otherwise, Golden-headed differs as follows:

  • Head pattern: fairly uniform on the cheek, nape and supercilium, so the eye stands out (contrasts). Zitting has a more patterned head including a white supercilium and darker cheek meaning the eye stands out less
  • Mantle: slightly greyer than Zitting
  • Tail tip: Zitting has more obvious white tips


Photo © by mthompson
Tyto Wetlands, north Queensland September 2009

Eurasia and Australasia:
Asia: China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Eastern and Western Himalayas, Bangladesh, Taiwan and Hong Kong
Southeast Asia: Indochina, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Island of Borneo, Indonesia, Greater Sundas, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Lesser Sundas, Bali and Island of Timor
Australasia: Papua New Guinea, Australia: New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and Melanesia



Photo © by Ken Doy
Eagleby, Queensland, Australia, December 2016
Non-breeding plumage
Photo © by Ken Doy
Eagleby, Queensland, Australia, August 2018

Cisticola exilis has 12 subspecies[1]:


Tall grass and reeds around marshes and wetlands, including sewage ponds and rice fields. Also field edges on lower mountain slopes.



Their diet consists mostly of small insects, ants, caterpillars, moths etc.


Flight (composite picture)
Photo © by Romy Ocon
Paranaque City, Philippines, August 2010

They time their breeding effort to the rainy season.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BF Member observations
  3. Avibase
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved May 2014 and August 2018)

Recommended Citation

External Links

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