Brown Accentor

Brown Accentor
Brown Accentor Prunella fulvescens, Qinghai, China, elev. 3820 m (12,530 ft.), July. (Craig Brelsford)

Six races of Brown Accentor Prunella fulvescens in China: fulvescens (Xinjiang and northern Tibet), dresseri (Kunlun Mountains and Qaidam Basin), nanschanica (northeast Qinghai and adjacent Gansu south to Sichuan), khamensis (eastern Tibet), mongolica (western Inner Mongolia), and dahurica in extreme northern Inner Mongolia. HABITAT On dry stony slopes and in barren valleys with sparse, scrubby vegetation, to 5100 m (16,700 ft.). ID & COMPARISON Adult nominate has long, broad, conspicuous off-white eye-stripe that contrasts with black crown (mainly brown at center) and black sides of face; neck sides grey. Upperparts greyish-brown with (usually) rather faint streaking on mantle and back. Underparts pinkish-buff, richly so on breast and flanks, paler on throat and belly, sometimes with slight blackish streaking on flanks. Juvenile has less striking head pattern, as supercilium is duller and narrower and ear coverts are browner. Also more heavily streaked above and has streaked underparts, more prominent wingbars, and rufous wing panel. Black-throated Accentor P. atrogularis has, apart from black throat in most plumages, more prominent streaking on upperparts and flanks. Siberian Accentor P. montanella has more orange-yellow supercilium and rufous-brown streaking on upperparts and flanks. Some racial variation in tone of underparts; dresseri is palest form. BARE PARTS Bill sharply pointed, black; feet pinkish-brown; iris brown; yellowish-white eye-ring below eye. VOICE Song, delivered from exposed perch (rarely in flight), a loud, low, trilling warble lasting 2-3 seconds and repeated continuously. Call a bunting-like tzie, sometimes doubled. — Craig Brelsford

THE ACCENTORS OF CHINA covers all 9 species in Prunellidae in China. Click any link below:

Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris
Altai Accentor P. himalayana
Robin Accentor P. rubeculoides
Rufous-breasted Accentor P. strophiata
Siberian Accentor P. montanella
Brown Accentor P. fulvescens
Black-throated Accentor P. atrogularis
Koslov’s Accentor P. koslowi
Maroon-backed Accentor P. immaculata


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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