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Bar-winged Prinia (Prinia familiaris) .jpg
Bar-winged prinia (Prinia familiaris)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cisticolidae
Genus: Prinia
Horsfield, 1821

See text

Prinia is a genus of small insectivorous birds belonging to the passerine bird family Cisticolidae. They were at one time classed in the Old World warbler family, Sylviidae.

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.


The genus was erected by the American naturalist Thomas Horsfield in 1821. The type species is the bar-winged prinia (Prinia familiaris).[1][2] The name of the genus is derived from the Javanese prinya, the local name for the bar-winged prinia.[3]

A molecular phylogenetic study of the Cisticolidae published in 2013 found that the rufous-vented grass babbler did not lie within the clade containing the other prinias.[4] Based on this analysis the rufous-vented prinia and the closely related swamp grass babbler were moved to the reinstated genus Laticilla in the family Pellorneidae.[5]


The genus contains 27 species:[5][6]

Species formerly in Prinia but now considered distinct enough to warrant separate generic treatment:

Species formerly in Prinia but now moved to Laticilla in family Pellorneidae:[4]


  1. ^ Horsfield, Thomas (1821). "Systematic arrangement and description of birds from the Island of Java". Transactions of the Linnean Society of London. 13: 133–200 [165]. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1821.tb00061.x. Title page dated 1822
  2. ^ Mayr, Ernst; Cottrell, G. William, eds. (1986). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 11. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 128. |volume= has extra text (help)
  3. ^ Jobling, James A. (1991). A Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 189. ISBN 0-19-854634-3.
  4. ^ a b Olsson, U.; Irestedt, M.; Sangster, G.; Ericson, P.G.P.; Alström, P. (2013). "Systematic revision of the avian family Cisticolidae based on a multi-locus phylogeny of all genera". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 66 (3): 790–799. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2012.11.004. PMID 23159891.
  5. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2017). "Grassbirds, Donacobius, Malagasy warblers, cisticolas & allies". World Bird List Version 7.3. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  6. ^ Alström, Per; Rasmussen, Pamela C.; Sangster, George; Dalvi, Shashank; Round, Philip D.; Zhang, Ruying; Yao, Cheng-Te; Irestedt, Martin; Manh, Hung Le (2019). "Multiple species within the Striated Prinia Prinia crinigera-Brown Prinia P. polychroa complex revealed through an integrative taxonomic approach". Ibis. 162 (3): 936–967. doi:10.1111/ibi.12759. ISSN 1474-919X.
  • 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