About the Author

James Tyrrell


James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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on What Bird is This? #9

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I was overjoyed to open my blog today and find a bird article. Now if somebody could breed a leopard with leopard-marked feathers and wings I WOULD be happy. Nice photo of a Zitting Cisticola. Pride goes before a fall but I THINK it’s a Zitting Cisticola.

LBJs are difficult but when you get a positive ID it can be very rewarding and definitely helps get the lifers list numbers up. I’d go with a Rattling Cisticola (Cisticola chiniana) with this bird but I am not very confident calling cisticolas with a definite positive ID without hearing them.. Very keen to see what bird this turns out to be.

It is a warbler. Not sure which one.

Hi James,
I am going with a male Rattling Cisticola. Londos is limited for choice of the mottled back variants and this is not “Zitting” . African Birdlife just happened to print a useful article on this subject and my copy of the March/April edition arrived last Thursday and it helped me separate males from females, given that they are in the breeding season . Ian

Hi Ian – funny you should mention African Birdlife! I based my identification as a Zitting on an article which appeared in the July/August 2018 edition. I chose the Zitting because if you look very carefully at the photo in the blog (enlarge it) the tip of the beak is flushed faintly pink and in Hugh Chittenden’s excellent photo (pg 45 top left) you will see the same – and I haven’t seen that pink-flushed tip in any other photos of Cisticolas. This IS exciting – I can’t wait to see the results!


Hmmmmm! My bird identification prowess is certainly lacking…..too bad it’s not a lilac breasted roller 😘

Rattlin cisticola maybe?

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