Rufous-breasted Accentor    Prunella strophiata


  • Prunella : Braunelle – German for brow
  • Strophiata: Latin word strophium- breast-band

Vernacular Names: Lepcha: Phoo-ching-pho

Distribution in India: Resident in Himalayas in India.

Description: Size of 15 cm; wt. of 18 g. It has conspicuous supercilium white in front of eye, becoming broader and ochraceous above and behind eye, and blackish lateral crownstripe; blackish cheeks, narrow white crescent below eye. The crown and upperparts are brown with black streaks; wings and tail are dark brown, two indistinct pale wingbars. The throat is whitish, variably streaked dark, streaks often forming indistinct malar stripe and throat band. The broad rufous chest band, has thin dark streaks; rest of underparts are pale cream with dark streaking, especially on flanks; iris is brown; bill is blackish; legs are dull orange-brown. Both the sexes are alike. The juvenile has supercilium whitish, lacking ochraceous colour, pale tips of crown and back feathers giving speckled appearance, buff-washed breastband and paler belly both entirely streaked.

Habitat: It is found in summer, occupying upper limits of birch, oak and pine forests with rhododendron scrub, and subalpine scrub of juniper, willow above tree-line. It breeds from 2700 m to 5000 m. In winter, it is found in more open scrubby habitats and fallow fields at lower altitudes. It is found from 1300m to 3600 m .

Food habits: It eats Invertebrates, worms, small seeds, berries and fruit. It forages in skulking manner on ground beneath bushes.

Breeding habits: They breed in May–Aug. The nest is a deep cup of moss, dried stems and lichen, lined with grass, hair and feathers, typically placed low down in thicket of scrub .They lay a clutch of 3–5 eggs. The incubation and care of young is done by both sexes.