Robin Accentor

Robin Accentor
Robin Accentor Prunella rubeculoides, Qinghai, China, Elev. 3520 m (11,550 ft.), July. (Craig Brelsford)

Robin Accentor Prunella rubeculoides rubeculoides is resident through eastern Tibet and western Sichuan north through Qinghai to northern Gansu. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Breeds in boggy alpine meadows, rhododendron scrub, and valley bottoms, often around willows and sedge clumps, to 5500 m (18,050 ft.); lower in winter, when often found around upland villages. Forages on ground. Tame. ID & COMPARISON Adult distinctive, with rusty-orange breast band, brownish-grey hood, and usually a narrow black line in between; brown upperparts with black streaking on mantle and back, and creamy-white plumage below breast band. Some brown streaking on flanks and undertail coverts; underparts otherwise unstreaked. Fresh tail and wings have blackish feather centers edged rufous-brown, and whitish tips to median and greater coverts forming wing bands; worn wings and tail may look uniformly brown. Rufous-breasted Accentor P. strophiata has striking head pattern and is much more streaked (especially below). Juvenile streaked above and on buff breast, lacking prominently brownish-grey hood, instead having brown ear coverts and (black-streaked) crown, divided by buff supercilium. Best distinguished from juvenile Rufous-breasted Accentor by more diffuse streaking on underparts and less distinct supercilium. BARE PARTS Iris reddish-brown; bill black (pinkish base in juveniles); feet reddish-brown. VOICE Short, sweet, chirping song; metallic trilling call. — 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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