Golden-headed Cisticola

Did you know?

The Golden-headed Cisticola sews leaves together to form part of its nest, giving it its other common name: Tailorbird.

Metallic, fluid buzzing calls, soft peeping and harsh scolding alarm calls. In breeding season calls almost continuously.
Facts and Figures
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Breeding season: 
September to March
Clutch Size: 
3 to 4
Conservation Status
Basic Information
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What does it look like?

In breeding season, the male Golden-headed Cisticola has a golden-orange head, which is crested when calling, with a paler chin and throat, and a boldly streaked black to dark grey and golden body. The tail is black, with paler tips, and is shorter during breeding season. Females resemble non-breeding males, with buff-brown upper parts, heavily streaked black and dark brown, with a golden-buff rump and nape of neck. The underparts are cream with buff tints, the wings are black, with each feather edged buff. Young birds resemble the female but are duller.

Similar species: 

The related Zitting Cisticola, C. juncidis, resembles the Golden-headed Cisticola in size and shape, but lacks the rich golden colouring on the head and rump, tending to be paler underneath, and more heavily streaked on top. The Little GrassbirdMegalurus gramineus, is slightly larger, lacks the golden colouring, has streaked underparts and a longer tail.

Where does it live?

The Golden-headed Cisticola occurs from Carnarvon in Western Australia, north-east to Darwin, Cape York and down the east coast as far as King Island and Adelaide. It is also found from India and southern China to the Bismarck Archipelago.


The Golden-headed Cisticola lives in sub-coastal areas, wetlands, swamp margins, wet grasslands, rivers, and irrigated farmland. It prefers tangled vegetation close to the ground, but breeding males may be seen singing from tall weeds or other shrubs.

Seasonal movements: 


What does it do?

Golden-headed Cisticolas feed quietly and inconspicuously on insects taken from the ground amongst tall grasses. They also feed on the seeds from the grasses among which they live.


The Golden-headed Cisticola builds a rounded nest with a side entrance near the top, from fine grasses, plant down and spiders' web. Leaves are usually stitched to the outer surface and the nest is lined with soft plant down. Both the male and female help in nest-building although the female incubates the eggs on her own.

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