Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Black-chested Prinia (Prinia flavicans)


French: Prinia à plastron German: Brustbandprinie Spanish: Prinia pechinegra

Sylvia flavicans


, 1820,

Great Namaqualand, Namibia


Occasionally hybridizes with P. maculosa in W South Africa. Geographical variation rather subtle; SE populations of nominate race (Northern Province S to Free State, in N South Africa) average darker above in non-breeding plumage; sometimes separated as race ortleppi. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. f. bihe Boulton & Vincent, 1936 – S Angola and W Zambia.
  • P. f. ansorgei W. L. Sclater, 1927 – desert coast of SW Angola and N Namibia.
  • P. f. flavicans (Vieillot, 1820) – Namibia, W & C Botswana and W South Africa.
  • P. f. nubilosa Clancey, 1957 – NE Namibia, N & E Botswana, SW Zambia, W Zimbabwe and E South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; male 8–12 g, female 6–11 g. A medium-sized unstreaked prinia with distinctive white throat and yellowish breast and belly, tail strongly graduated... read more


    Male sings from prominent perch on low bush, usually with tail cocked, a loud, sharp “chip-chip-... read more


    Shrublands and edges of drainage-line woodland in arid and semi-arid areas, dry acacia (Acacia... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mainly insects and other small invertebrates, including termites (Isoptera), chrysomelid, coccinellid and scarabeid beetles and... read more


    Aug–May, mainly Oct–Mar, but in arid W can breed opportunistically in winter (in non-breeding plumage) after unseasonal rains;... read more


    Resident, but probably locally nomadic in arid areas. Records from Kruger National Park, in E South... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common to abundant; densities of up to 0·5 pairs/ha. In Botswana, where atlas reporting rates in unprotected areas were higher than in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ryan, P. & Dean, R. (2019). Black-chested Prinia (Prinia flavicans). 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 26 August 2019).