Yellow-bellied (Chinese) Prinia

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The Yellow-bellied Prinia (Prinia flaviventris sonitans) is fairly common in the right habitat in Taiwan. I found the birds in Taiwan quite different from the ones seen back home (Prinia flaviventris rafflesi). I am not sure the name “Yellow-bellied” is that appropriate as the Taiwan subspecies (Prinia flaviventris sonitans) has more of a yellow-tawny colouration that is more prominent on the sides of the belly and flanks (above, below); the center of the breast is pale and there is no clear yellow demarcation as in P. f. rafflesi or P. f. flaviventris. (Note the Yellow-bellied Prinia in Borneo, P. f. latrunculus, has even less yellow and is sometimes called the Bornean Prinia). The tail also looked considerably longer (above, below) and the song is different (sonogram & waveform and edited audio recording here:

Handbook of the Birds of the World (2019) separates these birds and calls the Taiwan species (also found in North East Vietnam and South China) the Chinese Prinia (Prinia sonitans).

Sonogram and waveform.

Most authorities prefer Yellow-bellied Prinia (Prinia flaviventris sonitans):

  1. The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World 4th Edition
  2. International Ornithologists’ Union (IOC) World Bird List 2018, version 8.2
  3. OBI (also indicates that this subspecies is also called the Chinese Prinia)
  4. eBird & Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World 2018 label it Yellow-bellied Prinia (Chinese) (Prinia flaviventris sonitans)


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

19th January 2019


Location: Dayuan Township, Taoyuan City County, Taiwan

Habitat: Wetlands farming area near the sea

Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, handheld with Rode VideoMic Pro Plus Shotgun Microphone


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