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Species Guide
A photo of a Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)
Plain Prinia

Plain Prinia

Prinia inornata

The Plain Prinia, or Prinia inornata, known also as the plain wren-warbler or white-browed wren-warbler, is a diminutive bird of the Cisticolidae family. Measuring 13–14 cm in length, these warblers possess short, rounded wings, a relatively long tail, sturdy legs, and a succinct black bill. The breeding plumage of adults is characterized by a grey-brown upper body, a conspicuous short white supercilium, and rufous fringes on the closed wings, while the underparts are of a whitish-buff hue. Both sexes exhibit identical plumage.

Identification Tips

In the non-breeding season, the Plain Prinia's upperparts transition to a warmer brown, and the underparts take on a more pronounced buff color. The tail elongates during this period. Geographic variations exist among the subspecies, with differences in plumage shade. Notably, the endemic Sri Lankan race maintains its summer plumage and shorter tail throughout the year.


The Plain Prinia is a bird that favors wet lowland grasslands, open woodlands, and scrub areas. It can also be found in gardens, adapting to human-altered landscapes.


This resident breeder's range extends from Pakistan and India to South China and Southeast Asia. It was once considered conspecific with the Tawny-flanked Prinia, which is found in Africa south of the Sahara, but they are now generally recognized as separate species.


The Plain Prinia is a skulking bird, often remaining hidden within its preferred habitats. It constructs its nest within a shrub or amidst tall grasses, where it lays a clutch of three to six eggs. This contrasts with the Tawny-flanked Prinia, which prefers to nest in herbage and typically lays two to four eggs.

Song & Calls

The vocalization of the Plain Prinia is a distinctive and repetitive "tlee-tlee-tlee," a call that can often be heard within its habitat.

Diet and Feeding

As with most warblers, the diet of the Plain Prinia is primarily insectivorous, feeding on a variety of small insects.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List has classified the Plain Prinia as Least Concern, indicating that, currently, there are no immediate threats to its population numbers that would warrant a higher level of concern.

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