Yellow-bellied Prinia – song

on 6th October 2021

While watching Yellow-bellied Prinias (Prinia flaviventris rafflesi) at close range, I also managed to do considerable recording of the ‘classical’ song from 3 adult male birds. Wells 2007 described this classical song or musical thrill as “tidli-idli-ul”. Handbook of Birds of the World (2019), on the song, says it lasts 0·7 seconds and “may be repeated after a few seconds and up to 20 times”. In recording, I counted 50 songs in a duration of 82 seconds i.e. one song every 1.64 seconds (95% CI: 0.99 to 2.29). They could continue singing past 20 times. Song duration was generally 0.7 seconds but this was not true for every bird. Some birds had songs that lasted up to 1.1 seconds. It all depends on the “introduction’ to the song which is often not heard well unless recorded. The bird will make a number of ‘clicking’ sounds before the thrill component is expressed. In most birds there are two clicks made; in some only a single click; in others 5-6 of these notes will be made lengthening the song (Note: Handbook of the Birds of the World says only one click).

Above shows the classical sonogram and waveform of a Yellow-bellied Prinia song with two up-spike clicks followed by the explosive thrill. A longer, edited audio recording of this type of song is here:

The second song (above) shows a bird that makes 5-6 clicks before the thrill, so much so that, at times, two songs can appear to be merged (above). A longer, edited audio recording of this 2nd type of song is here:


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Secondary growth at fringe of city

Date: 1st February 2019

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


If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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