Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Chinese Prinia (Prinia sonitans)


French: Prinia de Chine German: Aschkappenprinie Spanish: Prinia china

Prinia sonitans


, 1860,

Xiamen, China


Hitherto treated as conspecific with P. flaviventris, but differs in its ochreish-buff vs white throat and breast (2); whitish-centred rich ochreish-buff vs yellow belly to vent (3); browner upperparts (1); shorter bill (excluding the distant P. f. sindiana allow 2) and notably longer song phrase (at least 2)#R. Grouped in HBW with P. f. latrunculus, but differs in its much shorter bill (allow 2); strikingly longer tail (allow 3); stronger ochreish-buff belly to vent (2); shade browner, less grey upperparts (1); and (although latrunculus is vocally slightly different from other P. flaviventris) notably longer song phrase (at least 2). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

NE Vietnam (Tonkin), S China (Guangxi, Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Hainan) and Taiwan.

Descriptive notes

12–14 cm. An attractive, fairly distinctive prinia with long graduated tail. Very different from formerly conspecific P. flaviventris. Adult in breeding plumage has... read more


Song similar to that of formerly conspecific P. flaviventris, a hurried bubbling “tidli-... read more


Inhabits reedy swamps, tall grasslands and scrub, including overgrown cultivation and bushy... read more

Food and feeding

Adult diet not well studied, but nestlings are fed arthropods, with spiders being dominant (c. 41%) but also larvae, Orthoptera,... read more


Season mostly May–Jul in Taiwan; in S China, courtship begins in early Mar, and nesting and egg-laying lasts from early Apr to late Jun (... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common over much of its extensive range. Distribution dictated by availability of grassland habitat; has doubtless been... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Chinese Prinia (Prinia sonitans). 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).