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Prinia subflava (Tawny-flanked prinia) 

Bruinsylangstertjie [Afrikaans]; Ungcuze [Xhosa]; Harudeve (generic term for cisticola or prinia) [Kwangali]; Timba (generic name for cisticolas and warblers) [Shona]; Matsinyani [Tsonga]; Roestflankprinia [Dutch]; Prinia modeste [French]; Rahmbrustprinie [German]; Prínia-de-flancos-castanhos [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Cisticolidae > Genus: Prinia

Prinia subflava (Tawny-flanked prinia) 

Prinia subflava (Tawny-flanked prinia) 

Prinia subflava (Tawny-flanked prinia) 

Tawny-flanked prinia. [photo Callie de Wet ©]

Top right: Tawny-flanked prinia. [photo Callie de Wet ©]. Bottom right: Tawny-flanked prinia. [photo Jeff Poklen ©]

Distribution and habitat

Common from southern Asia to much of sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Ethiopia south to southern Africa. Here it prefers dense grass, shrubs and bushes along watercourses or in clearings in woodland, edges of old cultivated farmland and rural villages.

Distribution of Tawny-flanked prinia in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Brown-backed honeyguide.


It mainly eats invertebrates, foraging on bare ground and in the undergrowth, sometimes along with other species in a foraging flock. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest (see image below) is built by both sexes, consisting of a pear or oval-shaped structure with a side entrance, built of woven green grass which hardens and turns to pale brown as it dries. It is typically attached with grass to a few upright stems of a sapling, tall shrub, sedge, tall tuft of grass or bush, often over shallow water or moist ground.
Prinia subflava (Tawny-flanked prinia)  

Tawny-flanked prinia at its nest, Hazyview, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is almost year-round, peaking from November-March.
  • It lays 2-5 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 13-14 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 10-20 days.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.