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Prinia maculosa (Karoo prinia, Spotted prinia) 

Karoolangstertjie [Afrikaans]; Ujiza [Xhosa]; Motintinyane (generic term for cisticolas and prinias), Seqeshe [South Sotho]; Karoo-prinia [Dutch]; Prinia du Karroo [French]; Fleckenprinie, Gelbbauchprinie [German]; Prínia-malhada [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 maculosa (Karoo prinia, Spotted prinia)  Prinia maculosa (Karoo prinia, Spotted prinia) 

Karoo prinia, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo Duncan Robertson ©]

Karoo prinia with moth, Kleinmond, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo Duncan Robertson ©]

Distribution and habitat

Endemic to southern Africa, occurring from the extreme south of Namibia to the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape, extending into the Free State and Lesotho. It is common to locally very common, preferring shrubland such as fynbos, Karoo scrub and renosterveld but also occupying gardens, thickets of alien Acacia trees and strandveld.

Brood parasites

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


It eats a variety of small invertebrates, gleaning them from the leaves and stems of bushes. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is built by both sexes in about 4-14 days, consisting of an oval or pear shape with a side entrance, built of woven green grass which turns light brown over time. A thick lining of plant down or wool is added to it during incubation. It is typically conceals it in a tuft of spiny grass, sapling, shrub or bush, occasionally in a garden plant adjacent to a house; it may even place it in an old Yellow bishop or Southern red bishop nest.
  • Egg-laying season is from July-January, peaking from August-November.
  • It lays 1-5 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for approximately 11-17 days.
  • The chicks are fed a variety of invertebrates by both parents, leaving the nest after about 10-14 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.