Jungle Prinia Prinia sylvatica

Anand Krishnan and Steve Madge
Version: 2.0 — Published September 17, 2020

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

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Sounds and Vocal Behavior

An extremely vocal bird in the breeding season, singing from an exposed perch. Usually sings from much higher perches than other sympatric species , even from the tops of tall trees (7). The author has observed aggression towards other smaller species of Prinia, and this species may chase them from singing perches (AK). Sometimes takes flight from a singing perch, singing on the wing, only to dive downwards, flashing its white tail rectrices. The black gape is conspicuous in the breeding season (1).



No information.

Vocal Array

Song. Given from an exposed perch, song is a warbled phrase repeated over and over in pulsing rhythm for ca. 2–3 minutes, “pit-pretty, pit-pretty, pit-pretty, pit-pretty…”, the “pit” being quite soft, and the “pretty” more easily heard at a distance . Another song type is a series of hard, galloping “chip” notes, “p’ch-chip, p’ch-chip” etc., with variations . Some individuals alternate the two song types. Typically all song notes tend to fall into a single cluster (7), with variation in the repetition rate. Songs span roughly between 3-8 KHz on a spectrogram, a higher bandwidth than sympatric species such as Ashy Prinia (P. socialis), Plain Prinia (P. inornata), or Gray-breasted Prinia (P. hodgsonii). Drier-sounding and slower than the song of Rufous-fronted Prinia (P. buchanani) where the two overlap, with a larger bandwidth for each note.

Calls. Includes rapidly repeated “pit, pit, pit” when agitated , also a metallic, rapid, and prolonged chatter by both sexes when alarmed. In addition, a "swee-CHUT" whistled sound, ascending and then sharply descending, repeated again and again . Apte (9) describes this call as being given when the nest has hatchlings, although it is also frequently uttered by non-breeding birds (AK). It is unknown if both sexes utter this call. A descending call note, somewhat reminiscent of a tailorbird, also known .

Places of Vocalizing

Sings from exposed perches, often quite high up, sometimes singing from the tops of trees (7). Also gives song in flight (1).

Geographic Variation

From personal experience (AK) with three subspecies (sylvatica, gangetica, and insignis), no obvious discernible differences in song notes, but this requires further detailed, quantitative study of song structure to assess if regional dialects exist. In particular, the isolated Sri Lankan subspecies valida may exhibit subtle vocal differences from the other taxa on account of this isolation, and should be a focus of future study.

Nonvocal Sounds

Like other Prinia species (1), wings may sometimes emit a snapping sound in flight, particularly when flushed or agitated (AK).

Recommended Citation

Krishnan, A. and S. Madge (2020). Jungle Prinia (Prinia sylvatica), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.junpri1.02