Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The global population size has not been quantified. In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 1,000-4,000 breeding pairs, equating to 3,000-12,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2015), but Europe forms <5% of the global range. The population in Egypt is estimated at in excess of 100,000 pairs (Ryan 2006).
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. The European population is estimated to be fluctuating (BirdLife International 2015).
This species inhabits rank vegetation in fairly arid areas, including shrubs and small trees, herbs and forbs, reedbeds, riparian scrub and dry riverbeds with Acacia, oleander and Tamarix trees. It is also locally found in mangroves and date-palm plantations. It is a solitary breeder and monogamous with pairs defending territories throughout the year. In Turkey, fledglings have been recorded from April to September (Kirwan et al. 2008). Egg-laying occurs from February to July in Egypt, Israel and Iraq, December-May in Ethiopia and Somalia, February-October in Pakistan and India (Ryan 2006). The male constructs the nest and the female assists by lining the cup. It is an oval structure made of dry grass and other plant material, spider cocoons and spider web and placed 0.15–1.3 m above ground in fairly tall grass or a tree. Occasionally the nest of another bird, such as Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis) is used. Clutch size normally three to five eggs. Its diet consists of insects, including beetles and their larvae (Coleoptera), caterpillars and adult lepidopterans, grasshoppers (Orthoptera), flies (Diptera) and spiders (Araneae). It also includes some plant matter. The species is mainly resident but undergoes local dispersal when not breeding. Vagrants, thought to be from Turkey, have been recorded in Crete and Cyprus (Ryan 2006).
The species is vulnerable to extreme weather. In Turkey, the population fell by c. 80% following an especially severe winter in 1991/2 (Ryan 2006).
Conservation Actions Underway
There are no known current conservation measures for this species within Europe.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Areas of important suitable habitat for this species should be identified and protection ensured. Research studies on the species's ecology and potential threats and impacts should be developed to inform conservation measures.
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Prinia gracilis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/11/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/11/2019.