It is difficult to confuse the Zitting Cisticola with another species due to its size, song, the striped parts, and its rectrices.
The differentiation between male and female is only possible during the nuptial period. The male has the inside of the bill (upper palate) black and the lower jaw dark gray with a black tip. The crown softens the striping, becoming almost imperceptible and uniformly dark brown. On the other hand, the female has the upper palate pinkish (with the possibility of presenting some dark tones on the edges) and the lower jaw pink. The crown in this case is gently striped with black.
It must be kept in mind that outside the nuptial period, it is not possible to sex adult birds of this species through their plumage.
It is possible to recognize 3 different ages:
Juvenile specimen: presents new plumage, of new generation and the rectrices (R2-R6) have a clear ochre tip.
1st year/2nd year specimen: this age is only recognizable in those specimens that have undergone a partial moult, as they show a difference between the new flight feathers and the worn juvenile feathers retained.
Adult specimen: shows a plumage without moult limits. The rectrices (R2-R6) have a white tip that stands out against the black and brown.
Zitting Cisticola undergo a post-nuptial moult in which they change all their plumage and generally ends in the month of October. On the other hand, the post-juvenile moult is a very variable process: early-born individuals generally change all their plumage. Conversely, late-born individuals generally undergo a partial moult, retaining a changing number of outer primaries. Some individuals of both ages may undergo a partial pre-nuptial moult, changing body feathers, several or all wing coverts, some tertials, some inner secondaries, and generally all rectrices, sometimes retaining outer feathers.
Primaries: 10 per wing.
Secundaries: 9 per wing.