Bird of Interest 11 – Dunnock

A rather House-sparrow like bird, the Dunnock (Prunella modularis) has a thin, warbler like bill. Generally rather skulking, but males are comparatively bold and conspicuous in spring. The sexes are similar throughout the entire year.Adult birds show heavy streaking on their chestnut-brown back. The underparts are mostly blueish-grey, but the flanks are boldly streaked with brown and chestnut. The face is blueish-grey, with brown streaking on the ear coverts and crown. They also have a faint pale wingbar. The bill is needle-thin and dark, with the legs being a reddish-pink.

The Dunnock is a widespread and rather common resident of woodlands, hedgerows, gardens and similar habitats – almost anywhere that harbours low, dense cover such as bramble patches. Several million birds are probably present in the UK as a whole.

The Dunnock feeds quietly and unobtrusively, mainly on the ground and close to cover. Consequently, despite the species relative abundance, it can be difficult to locate unless you are familiar with its thin, piping tseer alarm call. Dunnocks are easiest to see in spring, when the males in particular exhibit a reversal in the species typically retiring behaviour and frequently sit out in the open and sing.

Reference List:

  • Sterry.P., (2004) Collins Complete Guide to British Birds. Harper Collins Publishing Ltd, London.

About Thomas Whitlock

I'm a third student at the University of Reading, currently studied for a degree in Zoology. I have a wide interest in biodiversity, most notably British wildlife. I have an especial interest in British mammals and birds. I hope to become a wildlife cameraman or photographer after I graduate, and I feel that blogging will be a key component of any future job in Zoology. This is my first blog, so please be kind!
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