Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis


Justification of Red List category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified. The European population is estimated at 922,000-2,140,000 pairs, which equates to 1,840,000-4,280,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). However Europe forms approximately <5% of the global range so extrapolating to the global population size is not appropriate. National population estimates include: c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs in China; c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs in Taiwan; c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs in Korea and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs in Japan (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
The population is estimated to be increasing following recorded range expansions in recent years (del Hoyo et al. 2006), although in Europe, trends between 1998 and 2013 have been stable (EBCC 2015).


The species occupies open grasslands, including seasonally flooded and grassy wetlands, meadows, fallow lands and cultivated croplands and is occasionally found in urban areas. It prefers to forage in areas where there is Typha and Phragmites reedbeds and Salicornia saltmarsh as well as some bare ground, but breeding pairs require live, narrow-bladed grasses, sedges or plants with similar structure for nest-sites. It is usually found where vegetation is less than 1 m tall. It mostly breeds from March to September in Europe. The male builds the nest (Ryan 2006) low down in marshy vegetation and it is an elongated pear or bottle shaped structure with an entrance at or near the top. It is made of grasses bound together with cobwebs and lined with more cobwebs, flowers, hair and down. Usually four to six eggs are laid (Snow and Perrins 1998). It feeds mainly on insects and small invertebrates as well as some grass seeds. The species is largely resident throughout most of its range, but is subject to local movements often linked to seasonal changes in habitat suitability (Ryan 2006).


The main threat to this species is habitat loss through drainage, irrigation, land reclamation and conversion of meadows to plantations. Winter conditions restrict its range and it is very sensitive to periods of cold weather (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997), however populations recover quickly after cold winters (Martí and del Moral 2004). The species is also likely to be affected by climate change (BirdLife International and Durham University 2015).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within Europe.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Although this species is not threatened, populations should be monitored to ensure habitat loss does not become a major threat.


Text account compilers
Symes, A., Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Cisticola juncidis. Downloaded from on 22/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/02/2024.