Monday, 31 January 2011

Alpine accentor

Prunella collaris

Photo by Yeshey Dorji (Birding in India and the Indian Subcontinent)

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Prunellidae

These birds are found in mountainous areas, from the Iberian Peninsula and northwest Africa, through France and italy and Slovenia ans into the Balkans, Bulgaria and Greece. They are also found in northern and eastern Turkey, through the Caucasus and Iran and east to Turkmenistan, China, Korea and Japan. They are also found in Taiwan.

They are 15-17 cm long and have a wingspan of 30-33 cm. They 25-35 g.

They breed in high alpine country, usually at 1.800-3.000 m. They are mostly found in barren areas with boulders and low-growing plants. During the winter they go down to lower altitudes.

Alpine accentors forage on the ground for insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. During the winter they mostly eat seeds and fruits.

They have a polygynandrous breeding systems with several males and females having overlapping home ranges. Males will mate with several females and females mate with several males. Within each nest there are chicks from different fathers and the males will provide food to chicks at several nests within the group, depending on whether they have mated with the female of that nest or not. They breed in May-July. The nest is a cup-shaped nest of moss, grass stalks, and fine roots in holes and rocky clefts on the ground. The female lays 4-5 pale blue eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 13-15 days. The young fledge 16 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The alpine accentor has a very large breeding range and a population estimated at 500.000-2.000.000 individuals. The population is believed to be stable, as there are no evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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