A small, brownish upland cisticola. Remarkably plain: brown on the upperparts and buff below. The unmarked face often has a gentle expression. Found locally in both thorn savanna and broadleaf woodland. Very similar in appearance to Siffling Cisticola, but generally has warmer coloration and lacks streaking on the back. Also similar to Foxy Cisticola, but less rufous, and there is minimal overlap in range. Similar to Dorst’s Cisticola, but smaller, and the cap and back are roughly the same color. Rufous Cisticola’s unimpressive song consists of 2-3 high-pitched, squeaky notes in a descending pattern, very similar to the song of Siffling Cisticola.