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Bird name:


Prunella modularis




Accentors (Prunellidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Bushes, shrubs, and thickets, Scrub vegetation areas, Forests

Breeding Type:

Monogamous, Polygamous, Polyandrous

Egg Colour:


Number of Eggs:

4 - 5

Incubation Days:

13 - 15

Egg Incubator:


Nest Material:

Leaves, grasses, and roots.

Nest Location:

In a tree, shrub or hedge.


Most do not migrate


Dunnock: House Sparrow-sized bird with rich brown upperparts and flanks that are streaked with dark brown, brown crown and ear patch, and blue-grey head, breast, and underparts. Bill is black and narrow, legs and feet are pink-brown. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is streaked overall and lacks the blue-grey color on the head and breast.

Range and Habitat

Dunnock: Resident in the UK and Ireland. More common in the lowland areas. Found from coniferous and deciduous forests to gardens, hedges, moorland bracken and scrub and bramble patches. Lives in Europe and Russia, some winter in northern Mediterranean countries. Some Scandinavian birds arrive in the fall.

Breeding and Nesting

Dunnock: Four to five blue eggs are laid in a cup-shaped nest built by the female from leaves, grasses and roots. Eggs are incubated by the female for 13 to 15 days and fledge 12 to 15 days later. They are fed by their parents for another 14 to 17 days. Most pairs are polygynous or polyandrous.

Foraging and Feeding

Dunnock: Feeds mostly on the ground, foraging among leaf litter and roots for a variety of invertebrates, including beetles, spiders, ants, snails and worms. In the fall and winter eats berries and small seeds.

Readily Eats

Suet, Sunflower Seed, Commercial Mixed Bird Seed


Dunnock: Call is a loud, fast "tseep," song is a loud warble.

Similar Species

Dunnock: The House Sparrow has a shorter bill, pale grey cheeks, breast, and underparts. The Wren has a longer bill, buff underparts, a white eyebrow, and a striped tail.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Ear patchX
Consists of soft, loose-webbed feathers on the side of the bird's head below and behind the eyes.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX