The genus Franklinia contains four Indian species, three of which have hitherto been included in Prinia by all ornithologists except Sharpe. Prinia was instituted by Horsfield for Prinia familiaris of Java, a "Wren-Warbler with ten tail-feathers; and there can be no doubt that it is desirable to keep the Wren-Warblers in two separate genera, Prinia being retained for the birds with ten tail-feathers, and Franklinia for those with twelve. I have already stated my reasons why the latter birds cannot be included in Cisticola.
The history of one species of Franklinia is incomplete. The other three have a complete double moult every year attended by a change in the Length of the tail, and two have a marked change of colour as well. The sexes are always alike.
The Wren-Warblers are all resident species or merely partial migrants on the hills only. They frequent grass and bushes, either in the open or on the outskirts of forest, and are fairly abundant, except one species, about which little is known.
In these birds the bill is about two thirds the Length of the head, slender, but not so finely pointed as in Cisticola. The rictal bristles are strong and two in number. There are no supplementary hairs in front of them, and the feathers of the forehead are compact and smooth. The wing is very rounded and feeble, the first primary more than half the Length of the second, and the next three graduated. The tail, even in summer, is very ample and well-graduated. The tarsus is strong.
Key to the Species*,
a. Forehead and crown of same colour.
a1. Tips of tail-feathers shorter than width of feathers and dull white.
a2. Crown and upper plumage of same colour………………F. gracilis, p. 376.
b2. Crown darker than upper plumage………………F. rufescens, p. 377.
b1. Tips of tail-feathers longer than width of feathers and pure white………………F. buchanani, p. 378.
b. Forehead rufous; crown bluish ashy………………F. cinereicapilla, p. 379.
* I cannot identify Prinia humilis, Hume, Ibis, 1870, p. 144, said to have twelve tail-feathers. Hume apparently no longer considers it a good species, as he enters it in his ' Catalogue' with a note of doubt. It appears from the description to be Franklinia gracilis.