Yellow-bellied Prinia – plumage

on 16th March 2022

– plumage

After one of my Taiwan trips, I was keen to have a re-look at our local Prinias – Yellow-bellied Prinia (Prinia flaviventris rafflesi) . I met 4 pairs today at close quarters, all appeared to be breeding, and I was able to image/watch 3 well.

Post 1.

Post 1 & 2 are close-up images of an adult male and female. One feature I had not appreciated is the feathers around the eyelid margins; Wells 2007 says “eyelids margined by a single row of white feathers”. I would submit that there are not always white but can be buff; whether this is a breeding change, I am not able to say. Note also that the female (Post 2) has a well-defined “white supra-loral strip … confluent with the white eye-ring” (Wells 2007). This is the best feature in the field to distinguish from the male. Although Wells suggest that in males it is only a hint or absent, my experience is that many males a small white supra-loral strip is present.

Post 2.

Post 3 and 4 (composite) show a feature I had not read about in the guides/books. I noticed it today because birds were seen at very close range. All the males I saw had an indistinct, brownish upper breast or lower neck band. It was not very obvious but present, an dhad to be seen in the right posture and lighting. I have intentionally limited processing of the images so as not to accentuate it in anyway. In one bird (middle bird in Post 4 composite) it was lower down and almost confluent with the yellow belly (but most birds had it higher up). None of the females had this feature.

Post 3.

I looked at older images in my database and could spot it in some males. Looking at images online, there are hints of it in some birds. I wonder if I am imagining this and appreciate comments from others who have observed this bird well/closely. I wonder if it a breeding change, hence not always seen? I also considered a stain on the feathers but it is occurring in all males – unless it is from feeding juveniles in the nest and this part of the body is stained by the nest rim/margin?

Post 4.

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

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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