Unsorted Wild Birds

Tawny-flanked Prinias

The Tawny-flanked Prinias (Prinia subflava) is a small passerine bird belonging to the genus Prinia in the family Cisticolidae, a family of warblers.

It is widespread and common in most parts of Africa south of the Sahara.

The Plain Prinia (P. inornata) of southern Asia was formerly included in this species but is now usually considered to be a separate species.


It is 10-13 centimetres in length with a long, narrow, graduated tail and a fairly long, slender bill. The tail is often held erect or waved from side to side. The upperparts are grey-brown with rufous-brown edges to the flight feathers and a rufous tinge to the rump.

The throat and breast are whitish while the flanks and vent are warm buff. There is a whitish stripe over the eye and the lines are dark. The tail feathers have a white tip and a dark subterminal band.

Males and females look alike in appearance. Non-breeding birds have longer tails than breeding birds. Juveniles have pale yellow underparts and a yellowish bill.

Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)

The call is short, wheezy and rapidly repeated. The song is a monotonous series of shrill notes. The male often sings from an exposed perch.

The Pale Prinia (P. somalica) of North-east Africa is similar but paler and greyer with whitish flanks. It inhabits drier, more open habitats than the Tawny-flanked Prinia. The River Prinia (P. fluviatilis) of West Africa is also paler and greyer and has a longer tail. It is restricted to waterside vegetation.

Tawny-flanked Prinia (Prinia subflava)
Tawny-flanked Prinia (Prinia subflava)

Distribution and habitat

There are ten subspecies distributed across most parts of Sub-Saharan Africa except for the driest and wettest areas. It is absent from much of the Congo Basin, southern Namibia, south-west Botswana, and the western half of South Africa.

It is found amongst shrubs and grass in a variety of habitats including woodland, savanna, and cultivated areas. It adapts well to man-made habitats and is not considered to be threatened.

Tawny-flanked Prinia (Prinia subflava) - Juvenile

Diet / Feeding

It feeds on insects and other invertebrates. It forages in small flocks which move through shrubs and undergrowth.

Tawny-flanked Prinia (Prinia subflava)

Nesting / Breeding

The nest is purse-shaped and made of strips of grass woven together. It is built one to two metres above the ground. Two to four eggs are laid; they are variable in ground colour and usually have brown or purple spots or blotches.


  • Barlow, Clive; Wacher, Tim and Disley, Tony (1999) A Field Guide to Birds of the Gambia and Senegal, Pica Press, Sussex.
  • Serle, W.; Morel G.J. and Hartwig, W. (1977) Collins Field Guide: Birds of West Africa, HarperCollins.
  • Sinclair, Ian and Ryan, Peter (2003) Birds of Africa south of the Sahara, Struik, Cape Town.
  • Zimmerman, Dale A.; Turner, Donald A. and Pearson, David J. (1999) Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania, Christopher Helm, London.

External links

  • African Bird Image Database: Tawny-flanked Prinia

Copyright: Wikipedia. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from Wikipedia.org … Additional information and photos added by Avianweb.

Tawny-flanked Prinia (Prinia subflava)
Tawny-flanked Prinia (Prinia subflava)
Tawny-flanked Prinia (Prinia subflava)

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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