Black-throated Accentor (Prunella atrogularis)

Black-throated Accentor

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Prunellidae | [latin] Prunella atrogularis | [UK] Black-throated Accentor | [FR] Accenteur a gorge noire | [DE] Schwarzkehl-Braunelle | [ES] | [NL] Zwartkeelheggemus


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Prunella atrogularis EU c, sw
Prunella atrogularis atrogularis
Prunella atrogularis huttoni

Physical charateristics

Slightly larger than Dunnock and Siberian Accentor. Of similar form to Siberian Accentor but with more heavily marked head, black on chin and throat, black-streaked brown back, and rather pale brown rump. Juvenile has more diffuse head pattern and sometimes only mottled throat.
Birds with full black bib of breeding season unmistakable, but some show only speckled throat and are less distinctive, suggesting both Siberian Accentor and Radde?s Accentor. Observer faced with dark-cheeked accentor must concentrate on colour of and heaviness of streaking on both upper- and underparts and on throat pattern. Flight, gait, and behaviour much as Dunnock, but more robust and less shy, perching in open even when disturbed.

Listen to the sound of Black-throated Accentor

[audio: Accentor.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 21 cm wingspan max.: 22 cm
size min.: 15 cm size max.: 16 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 11 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Eurasia : Central, Southwest


Breeds in upper and middle continental latitudes, in north in subalpine belt in clumps of stunted spruce shrubs, while in central Asia it inhabits tall conifer forests; also nests in broad-leaved forests and in scrub with plenty of juniper, or in impassable thickets. Avoids open areas, living in low dense and often thorny bushes or on ground. In India, winters in hills up to c. 2500 m, but mostly below 1800 m, in scrub jungle, tea gardens, orchards, and bushes near cultivation.


Nest is built on a branch of tree or shrub. Nest is a cup of twigs and moss, with some grass leaves and stems, lined with finer material and hair. The eggs are sub-elliptical, smooth and glossy; deep blue-green. Clutch: 3-5 (1-6) incubated for 11-14 days. Young fledge after 11-14 days.

Feeding habits

Diet largely insects, supplemented by seeds (mainly in winter). Will also take other small arthropods. Feeds on ground, favouring woods, dense shrubs, grassy clearings, and stream banks; in winter, normally in patches of weeds, reeds, bushes, and alongside ditches.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Prunella atrogularis is a patchily distributed summer visitor to north-east European
Russia, which accounts for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. Its
European breeding population is small (as few as 1,500 pairs), but its trend during
1970-1990 was unknown. Trend data were also unavailable for 1990-2000, although
there is no evidence to suggest that the species is declining. Nevertheless, its population
size still renders it susceptible to the risks affecting small populations, and consequently
it is provisionally evaluated as Rare.
Black-throated Accentor status Least Concern


Urals population (nominate atrogularis) migratory, central Asian population (huttoni) partially so, also moving altitudinally. Combined winter quarters lie in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, and mountains of central Asia.
Autumn departures from Urals begin August, birds subsequently appearing scattered widely to south and south-east. Reaches Orenburg (southern Urals) in October.

Distribution map

Black-throated Accentor distribution range map

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