any of about 75 species of the genus Cisticola, belonging to the Old World warbler family, Sylviidae. They occur in grasslands, thorny scrub, and marshes, most numerously in Africa but also across southern Eurasia to Australia. Some are called cloud-scrapers, from the male's towering courtship-flight. Cisticolas are notoriously difficult to identify; some species may be distinguished only by the configuration of wing feathers. The plumage is chiefly brown, with or without streaking. The tail usually is broad and rather short and may be pale-tipped.
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