The Cape grassbird or Cape grass warbler s 17 to 19 centimetres (6.7 to 7.5 in) long and weighs around 30 grams (1.1 oz) Its crown and face sides are rufous, except for white around the eye, and it has black malar and moustachial stripes on its white throat. The upperparts are brown with heavy streaking and the long tail is a lighter brown while the underparts are whitish with blackish spotting. The sexes are similar, but the juvenile has a streaked cap and is duller than the adult. The long, pointed, straggly tail, chestnut cap and facial stripes are diagnostic of Cape grassbird. It is much larger than any cisticola, and the heavily streaked back and the pointed tail eliminate confusion with moustached grass warbler

Habitat and Distribution

The Cape grassbird breeds in southern Africa in South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland with an isolated population in eastern Zimbabwe. It is a common species of coastal and mountain fynbos and long, rank grass on mountain slopes or in river valleys.


The Cape grassbird is usually seen alone or in pairs, moving through vegetation foraging for insects and other small invertebrates.


The Cape grassbird builds a cup nest flow in vegetation. This species is monogamous, pairing for life. Its eggs have one of the slowest rates of embryonic development amongst Southern African species.

Calls and Songs

The song is jangling and musical, and the call is a nasal pheeeo.