Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Brown Prinia (Prinia polychroa)


French: Prinia des montagnes German: Malaienprinie Spanish: Prinia parda

Malurus polychrous


, 1828,



See P. crinigera. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. p. cooki (Harington, 1913) – C & E Myanmar, S China (S Yunnan), N & E Thailand, Cambodia (Kompong Thom) and N & S Laos.
  • P. p. bangsi (La Touche, 1922) – SE Yunnan (S China).
  • P. p. rocki Deignan, 1957 – Langbian Plateau, in SC Vietnam.
  • P. p. polychroa (Temminck, 1828) – Java.
  • Descriptive notes

    14·5–18 cm; c. 15 g. A large, strong-billed drab prinia with strongly graduated tail; distinct breeding and non-breeding plumages, former created primarily by... read more


    Song a rhythmic wheezy or rasping phrase, quickly repeated, as e.g. “ts’weu-ts’... read more


    Dry scrubby grassland and shrubby undergrowth at forest edge, and in open clearings in both... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food chiefly insects and their larvae. Normally feeds singly or in pairs. Forages low down or on ground among grassy or tangled vegetation... read more


    Season chiefly May and Jun. Nest an oval dome constructed of grasses, with entrance towards top at one side, usually placed close to ground... read more


    Generally considered resident, but upland populations disperse to lower elevations in winter.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally not uncommon in Thailand. Distinctly uncommon in Indochina, with only one confirmed record for Cambodia (specimen from near Kompong Thom);... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. (2019). Brown Prinia (Prinia polychroa). 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).