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Grey-crowned Prinia Prinia cinereocapilla
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is suspected to be rapidly declining as a result of the degradation and conversion of wooded grasslands throughout its range. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

11 cm. Small prinia with dark blueish-grey crown and narrow rufous-buff supercilium. Rufescent upperparts and buffish underparts. Similar spp. Breeding Rufescent Prinia P. rufescens has less sharply defined crown, narrower supercilium, less strongly rufous upperparts and whiter underparts. Non-breeding Ashy Prinia P. socialis is larger and longer-tailed and lacks supercilium behind eye. Voice Song is forced cheeeeeeeesum-zip-zip-zip. Also, rapidly-repeated zip notes.

Distribution and population
Prinia cinereocapilla has been recorded in the terai of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam, India (BirdLife International 2001), and was recently also found at Sukhna, along the Haryana-Punjab state border (Singh 2006) and at Pangot, Nanital and Dehradun in Uttarakhand (Sondhi 2011, A. P. Singh in litt. 2012). In Nepal, it formerly occurred from Kanchanpur district in the west to Ilam district in the east, but it has declined and is now confined to three protected areas: Chitwan National Park, and in adjoining areas of Parsa Wildlife Reserve and Bardia National Park and buffer zone (H. Baral in litt. 2012). Baral (2001) found it fairly common in Chitwan National Park and in adjoining areas of Parsa Wildlife Reserve. The Nepalese population is currently estimated at between 950-2,375 individuals (H. Baral in litt. 2012). It is also known locally from Bhutan, where it is considered rare.

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Rapid habitat degradation is continuing across the species's range, and this species's precise habitat requirements suggest that it is likely to be declining at a similarly rapid rate.

It primarily inhabits grassland with scrubby undergrowth, scattered trees and shrubs, particularly grasslands dominated by Themeda species, which typically occur close to Sal forests (Baral 2002). It also occurs in open forest and secondary growth, being more arboreal than other species of its genus. It is presumably resident from the lowlands up to 1,350 m, apparently breeding around June, although no confirmed nest has been reported.

The key threat is the loss of shrubby grasslands and open forests in the terai through conversion to agriculture, collection of fuelwood, overgrazing of livestock, and burning and harvesting of grass for thatch. As it seems to occur naturally at low densities throughout much of its range the deleterious effects of habitat fragmentation may be more pronounced. In Chitwan National Park it is threatened by the invasive alien Mikania micrantha which can smother grasslands (H. Baral in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Underway
There are recent records from Corbett Tiger Reserve, India, Chitwan and Parsa Wildlife Reserves, Nepal and Manas National Park, Bhutan. Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor populations in suitable habitat throughout the species's range to establish population trends. Survey areas of suitable habitat in intervening areas between known sites in order to clarify the distribution and population size. Extend, upgrade and link existing protected areas to conserve remaining tracts of suitable habitat. Control livestock-grazing, degradation of forest and encroachment in protected areas. Conduct widespread conservation awareness initiatives focusing on sustainable management of grassland and forest in and around protected areas.

Baral, H. S. 2002. Status, distribution and ecology of Grey-crowned Prinia Prinia cinereocapilla with new data from Nepal. Danphe 11(1): 21-24.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Singh A. P. 2006. Grey-crowned Prinia Prinia cinereocapilla in Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, Chandigarh, northern India. Indian Birds 2(1): 11.

Sondhi, S. 2011. Occurrence of the Grey-crowned Prinia, Prinia cinereocapilla in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India. India Birds 7(1): 21.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Taylor, J., Allinson, T

Baral, H., Singh, A.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Prinia cinereocapilla. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Grey-crowned prinia (Prinia cinereocapilla) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and allies)
Species name author Hodgson, 1854
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 33,100 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species