The prinias are a genus of small insectivorous birds belonging to the passerine bird family Cisticolidae. They are often also alternatively classed in the Old World warbler family, Sylviidae. The name of the genus is derived from the Javanese prinya, the local name for the Bar-winged Prinia.
The prinias are sometimes referred to as wren-warblers. They are a little-known group of the tropical and subtropical Old World, the roughly thirty species being divided fairly equally between Africa and Asia.
These are birds mainly of open habitats such as long grass or scrub, in which they are not easily seen. They are mainly resident, migration being limited to local cold weather movements. Non-breeding birds may form small flocks.
Prinias have short wings but long tapering tails. They are fairly drab birds, brown or grey above (sometimes with dark streaks) and whitish below. Some species have different breeding and non-breeding plumages. The bill is a typical insectivore's, thin and slightly curved.
Species list in taxonomic order
- Rufous-vented Prinia, Prinia burnesii
- Swamp Prinia, Prinia cinerascens
- Striated Prinia, Prinia crinigera
- Brown Prinia, Prinia polychroa
- Hill Prinia, Prinia superciliaris
- Black-throated Prinia, Prinia atrogularis
- Grey-crowned Prinia, Prinia cinereocapilla
- Rufous-fronted Prinia, Prinia buchanani
- Rufescent Prinia, Prinia rufescens
- Grey-breasted Prinia, Prinia hodgsonii
- Bar-winged Prinia, Prinia familiaris
- Graceful Prinia, Prinia gracilis
- Jungle Prinia, Prinia sylvatica
- Yellow-bellied Prinia, Prinia flaviventris
- Ashy Prinia, Prinia socialis
- Tawny-flanked Prinia, Prinia subflava
- Plain Prinia, Prinia inornata
- Pale Prinia, Prinia somalica
- River Prinia, Prinia fluviatilis
- Black-chested Prinia, Prinia flavicans
- Karoo Prinia, Prinia maculosa
- Drakensberg Prinia, Prinia hypoxantha
- Sao Tome Prinia, Prinia molleri
- Banded Prinia, Prinia bairdii
Species formerly in Prinia but now considered distinct enough to warrant separate generic treatment:
- Nguembock B.; Fjeldsa J.; Tillier A.; Pasquet E. (2007): A phylogeny for the Cisticolidae (Aves: Passeriformes) based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequence data, and a re-interpretation of a unique nest-building specialization. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 42: 272-286.
- Ryan, Peter (2006). Family Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and allies). pp. 378–492 in del Hoyo J., Elliott A. & Christie D.A. (2006) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 11. Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers Lynx Edicions, Barcelona ISBN 978-84-96553-06-4
- Urban, E.K.; Fry, C.H. & Keith, S. (1997) The Birds of Africa, vol. 5. Academic Press, London. ISBN 0-12-137305-3
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