Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Banded Prinia (Prinia bairdii)


French: Prinia rayée German: Zebraprinie Spanish: Prinia barrada

Drymoica Bairdii


, 1855,

Mondah River, Gabon


Aberrant prinia, sometimes placed in its own genus, Herpystera. Races melanops and obscura sometimes treated as a separate species on basis of moderately strong plumage differences and more montane habitat; narrow zone of hybridization with nominate exists in E DRCongo; some vocal differentiation apparent, but further research needed to relate this to ranges of taxa#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. b. bairdii (Cassin, 1855) – Banded Prinia – SE Nigeria S to N Angola (Cabinda), E to S Central African Republic, N DRCongo and W Uganda.
  • P. b. heinrichi Meise, 1958 – NW Angola (Cuanza Norte).
  • P. b. obscura (Neumann, 1908) – highlands of E DRCongo, W Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
  • P. b. melanops (Reichenow & Neumann, 1895) – Black-faced Prinia – W Kenya and E Uganda.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; 10–16 g. A highly distinctive, chunky-looking dark prinia with two white wingbars and strikingly banded underparts, long tail strongly graduated.... read more


    Male song a loud series of notes, ranging from ringing “bing bing bing…” to... read more


    Lowland and montane forest, usually where there are treefall gaps or clearings, tangled growth... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mainly small invertebrates, including small beetles (Coleoptera), flies (Diptera), caterpillars (Lepidoptera), other insect larvae;... read more


    Breeds May–Aug in Cameroon, Mar–Feb in Gabon, Jul–Nov in E Africa, and throughout year in DRCongo. Probably monogamous,... read more


    Little known; presumably mostly resident. Individual ringed in Kenya recaptured only 150 m away... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common, especially in disturbed forest and secondary growth. Average density 4·7 birds/ha in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, in Uganda.

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. (2019). Banded Prinia (Prinia bairdii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 September 2019).