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GALLERIES > BIRDS > SYLVIOIDEA > CISTICOLIDAE > ASHY PRINIA [Prinia socialis]


Ashy Prinia Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

The Ashy Prinia or Ashy Wren-Warbler (Prinia socialis), is a small warbler. This prinia is a resident breeder in the Indian subcontinent, western Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Description P. s. stewartii at Hodal in Faridabad District of Haryana, India.

These 13-14 cm long warblers have short rounded wings, a longish tail usually held upright, strong legs and a short black bill. The crown is grey and the underparts rufous in most plumages. In breeding plumage, adults are ash grey above, with a black crown and cheek with no supercilium and rufescent wings. In non-breeding season there is a short and narrow white supercilium and the tail is longer.

In winter, the northwestern subspecies, P. s. stewartii, has warm brown upperparts and a longer tail and has seasonal variation in plumage. The other races retain summer plumage all year round. West Bengal and eastwards has race inglisi which is darker slaty above than the nominate race of the Peninsula and deeper rufous on the flanks with a finer and shorter beak. The distinctive endemic race in Sri Lanka, P. s. brevicauda, has a shorter tail and has the juveniles with yellowish underparts.

Habits

This passerine bird is found in dry open grassland, open woodland, scrub and in home gardens in many cities.

Like most warblers, the Ashy Prinia is insectivorous. The song is a repetitive tchup, tchup, tchup or zeet-zeet-zeet. It also makes a sound like "electric sparks" which is believed to be produced by the wings or possibly the beak.

It is most easily distinguished by the loud snapping noise it makes during flight. How this noise is produced we do not know for certain. Reid was of opinion that the bird snapped its long tail. What exactly this means I do not know. Jesse believes that the sound is produced by the bird's mandibles. I have spent much time in watching the bird, and am inclined to think that the noise is caused by the beating of the wings against the tail. This last is constantly being wagged and jerked, and it seems to me that the wings beat against it as the bird flits about. When doves and pigeons fly, their wings frequently meet, causing a flapping sound. I am of opinion that something similar occurs when the ashy wren-warbler takes to its wings.

"?Douglas Dewar

The resident Prinia genus shows biannual moult which is rare among passerines. Biannual moult is theorized to be favoured when ectoparasite loads are very high, however no investigations have been made. Prinia socialis moults some remiges twice a year and is termed to have a partially biannual moult.

Breeding nest- side view in West Indian Elm Guazuma ulmifolia in Hyderabad, India. nest- eggs in West Indian Elm Guazuma ulmifolia in Hyderabad, India.

The Ashy Prinia builds its nest close to the ground in a shrub or tall grass and lays 3-5 eggs. The nest consists of leaves stitched together with webs and hair with the entrance towards the side. The eggs are of a somewhat pointed oval form and exceedingly glossy. They vary from brick-red to rich chestnut in colour, some being paler, some darker. The broad end of the egg is generally darker than the remainder of the shell, and exhibits a cap or zone. The eggs measure from 0.6 to 0.68 inches length, and from 0.45 to 0.5 in breadth.

The breeding season varies with locality and has been recorded breeding around the year but mostly after the monsoons. In north India it is mainly June to September and in Sri Lanka mainly December to March or August to October. Breeds during May-June in the Nilgiris. The species is believed to be monogamous and both the male and the female take part in incubation and feeding though to varying extents. The eggs hatch in about 12 days. Cuckoos Cacomantis merulinus and Cacomantis passerinus have been known to be brood parasites of this species.

Rare cases of birds reusing material from a nest to rebuild a nest at a new location have been noted.

Gallery

nest- front view in West Indian Elm Guazuma ulmifolia in Hyderabad, India.

P. s. socialis in Hyderabad, India.

P. s. socialis in Hyderabad, India.

P. s. socialis in Hyderabad, India.

P. s. socialis in Hyderabad, India.

P. s. stewartii near Hodal in Faridabad District of Haryana, India.

P. s. stewartii at Hodal in Faridabad District of Haryana, India

P. s. stewartii at Hodal in Faridabad District of Haryana, India

P. s. stewartii at Hodal in Faridabad District of Haryana, India

P. s. stewartii at Hodal in Faridabad District of Haryana, India.

P. s. stewartii at Hodal in Faridabad District of Haryana, India.

P. s. stewartii at Hodal in Faridabad District of Haryana, India.

P. s. stewartii at Hodal in Faridabad District of Haryana, India.

P. s. stewartii at Hodal in Faridabad District of Haryana, India.

P. s. socialis in Hyderabad, India.





                                     



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