[order] Passeriformes | [family] Prunellidae | [latin] Prunella atrogularis | [UK] Black-throated Accentor | [FR] Accenteur à gorge noire | [DE] Schwarzkehlbraunelle | [ES] Acentor de Garganta | [IT] Passera scopaiola golanera | [NL] Zwartkeelheggemus

Zwartkeelheggemus determination

No film available

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.

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.

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.

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 a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 3,000-5,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

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.

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.