The Rufous-winged Cisticola, also known as the Black-backed Cisticola, occurs only in a rather limited portion of Southern Africa, stretching from southern Malawi and central Mozambique southwards to the Kwazulu-Natal / Eastern Cape border in South Africa. It is very common where it occurs and the IUCN lists it as being of least concern.
As with others of its family the Rufous-winged Cisticola is a small bird, measuring about 13cm long and weighing only about 13g. It inhabits low-lying wetlands, reedbeds, adjacent grassland and sugarcane plantations, living mainly of insects. They are usually seen singly or in pairs. Rufous-winged Cisticolas are monogamous and build their ball-shaped nests just slightly above ground or water level in dense vegetation in marshy areas. Their breeding season spans spring and summer, during which the pair raise a brood of 2-4 chicks. The incubation period lasts about 2 weeks, with the chicks leaving the nest about the same length of time after hatching.