These two relatively common birds of the acacia drainage lines and reed choked river beds of the Tanqua Karoo are very similar in general appearance as they flirt their spindly tails about while foraging through the undergrowth in search of their main prey in the form of small invertebrates.
Closer observation reveals a discernible difference between the heavy streaking on the pale yellow underparts of the Karoo Prinia compared to the fine charcoal streaking confined to the light grey breast of the Namaqua Warbler.
Aside from this the Namaqua Warbler tends to be less ‘showy’ in outward behavioural characteristics to the Karoo Prinia making it more difficult to locate in favoured habitat unless calling from within a thicket or reed bed.
As such keeping an ear open for the distinctive descending and repetitive trill of the Namaqua Warbler, as opposed to the simple song sequence of repetitive single notes with slight variations of the Karoo Prinia, is the best way to locate this localised and sought after endemic of the arid Karoo.
For more info on our birding tours as quests for specific birds or general birding in Cape Town and further afield in South Africa and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, contact Patrick or Marie-Louise on email@example.com or browse our website www.avianleisure.com
Side-by-side, it’s an easy call, but I imagine that the situation seldom arises!