home   about   search

biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Prinia flavicans (Black-chested prinia) 

Swartbandlangstertjie [Afrikaans]; Harudeve (generic term for cisticola or prinia) [Kwangali]; Motintinyane (generic term for cisticolas and prinias) [South Sotho]; Tôntôbane [Tswana]; Zwartborstprinia [Dutch]; Prinia à plastron [French]; Brustbandprinie [German]; Prínia-de-colar-preto [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 flavicans (Black-chested prinia)  Prinia flavicans (Black-chested prinia) 

Black-chested prinia, in breeding plumage. [photo Neil Gray ©]

Black-chested prinia, in non-breeding plumage. [photo Neil Gray ©]

Prinia flavicans (Black-chested prinia) 

Black-chested prinia, in breeding plumage. [photo Callie de Wet ©]

Distribution and habitat

It occurs from southern Angola and Zambia to southern Africa, where it is common in shrubland (in both arid and semi-arid climates), dry Acacia savanna with scattered bushes, edges of drainage woodland in dry areas, fallowed cropland with large bushes and gardens in rural villages.

Distribution of Black-chested 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 eats a variety of small invertebrates gleaned from leaves, stems and bare soil. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is built by both sexes in roughly 11-12 days, consisting of a thin-walled oval or pear-shape with a side-top entrance, built of woven green grass which eventually become dry and pale brown. It is typically placed about 1 metre above ground in the stems of a bush, shrub, thorny tree or sapling, or occasionally a clump of tall grass.
  • Egg-laying season is year-round, peaking from September-April. It may breed opportunistically after rainfall in Winter, while it is still in non-breeding plumage.
  • It lays 2-6 eggs, which are incubated for about 12-15 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 11-15 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.