Brown Accentor

Brown Accentor    Prunella fulvescens


  • Prunella : Braunelle – German for brown
  • Fulvescens : Latin word for “ Brownish Yellow or Tawny”

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

Distribution in India: They are found at heights of 11000-13000 Ft above Mean sea Level. They are Residents of Northern Himalayas.( South/ North Pulu in Ladhak area is good spot for seeing them). In winter they come down to about 8000- 10000 Ft.


Description: Size of 15 cm; wt.of 20 g. The nominate race is olive-brown with sandy-grey tinge above , mantle and scapulars are with faint darker streaking; long, broad creamy-white supercilium, contrasting with dark brown ear-coverts and grey neck side. The tail and flight-feathers are blackish-brown with buff margins; pale tips of dark median and greater wing-coverts form two indistinct wingbars. It is buff below, paler on throat and belly, and rich pinkish-buff, almost apricot on breast. The iris is yellow-brown; bill is dark grey; legs are pale reddish-brown to yellowish-brown. Both the sexes are alike. The juvenile has narrower, less distinct supercilium, paler ear-coverts, more rufous back than adult, throat is pale with dusky spots, underparts are rich buff, some dark brown streaking on breast. Races vary largely in ground colour and amount of streaking on upper parts and depth of ochraceous colour below. The race khamensis is heavily streaked, but darker, streaking above more extensive reaching upper tail-coverts, breast is rich ochraceous, becoming buff on belly.

Habitat: In summer, found on open rocky or stony alpine and sub-alpine slopes, also in juniper scrub, in high barren valleys; prefers drier regions. It is found at 2400–5100 m. In winter, found in same habitats, and upper limit of pine forest, but also extends below tree-line, down to 1500 m; also frequent in villages.

Food Habits: It eats invertebrates and seeds. Invertebrates dominate in summer; seeds, supplemented by small berries, in winter. It forages mainly on ground, also in bushes and even tree crowns; occasionally takes insects in flight. It searches leaf litter in manner of a thrush, and may dig through 4–5 cm of snow to reach soil surface. Outside breeding season, it is found usually in small, confiding parties .

Breeding Habits: They breed in Apr or May, depending on altitude, up to Aug. They are double-brooded. The mating system is variable: polygyny, polyandry, monogamy and polygynandry. The nest is built by female. The nest is a cup of plant stems and grass, lined with wool, hairs and feathers; placed in diverse sites, mostly in juniper bush or spruce tree,in building, rock crevice, or beneath rocks or vegetation. They lay a clutch of 3–5 eggs; incubation is by female alone, fed on nest by male. The incubation period is 10–12 day. The nestlings fed by both sexes. The males sometimes feed chicks at nests belonging to different females in rapid succession. The nestling period is 10–15 days. The female may start new nest when fledglings still dependent.