Altai  Accentor  : Prunella Himalayana


  • Prunella : Braunelle – German for brown
  • Himalayana : Found in Himalayana 

Accentor are birds found at high Altitudes. The word Accentor means “Sing together”.

Distribution in India: Winter visitor to Himalayas in India.

Description: It has a size of 15 cm; Wt. of 25–29 g. It has grey head with some black streaking. The mantle and back are chestnut-brown with dark streaks, rump is paler brown; with two white wingbars. The tail is brown, pale with terminal spots. The chin and throat are white, bordered by black dots; breast, upper belly and flanks  are striped rufous and white while the lower belly creamy white. The iris is reddish; bill is black, base of lower mandible is yellow; legs are yellowish. Both the sexes are alike. The juvenile is similar to adult but is paler, throat is mottled grey, breast is rich buff and belly is creamy buff, both have dark streaks.


Habitat:  In summer it is found in stony alpine meadows and bare rocky hillsides with sparse cover, .It is found from 2800m –5500 m. In winter it is found on grassy, rocky hillsides and valleys at lower altitude, 2000m–4500 m.

Food habits: It eats invertebrates in summer; in winter it eats seeds supplemented by berries. It feeds flies, lepidopterans, beetles, orthopterans, spiders and small snails to nestlings. It forages inconspicuously on ground, with low crouching gait. In winter forages in flocks of 30–100 or more individuals, along with by Alpine Accentor and Plain Mountain Finches


Breeding habits: They breed in May–Aug. They are monogamous. The nest is a bulky cup of roots, grass and other plant fibres and moss, lined with hair and fur, placed on ground in hollow under grass tussock or rock. They lay a clutch of 4–6 eggs. The incubation is done by female alone. The incubation period is 13 days and chicks are fed by both sexes.