Family Cisticolas and allies (Cisticolidae)

Least Concern

Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)


French: Prinia simple German: Schlichtprinie Spanish: Prinia sencilla

Prinia inornata


, 1832,

Deccan, central India


Closest relatives believed to be P. subflava, P. somalica and P. fluviatilis. Sometimes treated as conspecific with P. subflava, but differs vocally and, to some extent, in plumage coloration; situation complicated, however, by geographical variation; further study required. Sri Lankan race insularis shows differences in song from mainland races, and Javan race blythi also reported to differ vocally#R; both in need of further study. Ten subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. i. terricolor (A. O. Hume, 1874) – extreme E Afghanistan (Jalalabad) and W Pakistan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and fringes of Baluchistan) E over NW India (E to Vadodara) to SW Nepal.
  • P. i. inornata Sykes, 1832 – C & SE India (S from Gangetic Plain).
  • P. i. franklinii Blyth, 1844 – SW India (S Karnataka, Kerala, W Tamil Nadu).
  • P. i. insularis (Legge, 1879) – Sri Lanka.
  • P. i. fusca Hodgson, 1845 – lowlands of Nepal E to Bhutan, Bangladesh, NE India (E to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur) and SW Myanmar.
  • P. i. blanfordi (Walden, 1875) – NC & E Myanmar, NW Thailand and S China (W Yunnan).
  • P. i. extensicauda (Swinhoe, 1860) – S & E China (N & E Yunnan, W Sichuan E to Jiangxi and Zhejiang, also Hainan) S to N Laos and N Vietnam (Tonkin).
  • P. i. flavirostris (Swinhoe, 1863) – Taiwan.
  • P. i. herberti E. C. S. Baker, 1918 – S Myanmar (Tenasserim), C & E Thailand, Cambodia, C & S Laos and C & S Vietnam.
  • P. i. blythi (Bonaparte, 1850) – Java.
  • Descriptive notes

    11–15 cm; 6–9 g. A small, olive-brown or reddish-brown, unstreaked prinia with whitish supercilium and underparts, tail very long and graduated (shorter and less... read more


    Some geographical variation in songs: in Sri Lanka (race insularis) a monotonously... read more


    Scrubby grassland in variety of situations, from saltmarshes to reedbeds, bamboo thickets,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Takes variety of small invertebrates, chiefly insects and their larvae; recorded items include small flies (Diptera), grasshoppers (... read more


    In India, chiefly during Jun–Oct monsoon in N and Mar–Jul in S; in Sri Lanka, Mar–Apr and Sept–Nov in hills, Jan... read more


    Largely resident; some altitudinal movement, with post-breeding descent from higher elevations to... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common over much of its extensive range. One of the most widespread members of genus, extending from Pakistan in W to Taiwan in E, and S to Java.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Madge, S. (2020). Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata). 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 23 February 2020).