Blackcap (Sylvia Atricapilla)

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

Dunnock (Prunella Modularis)

January 23, 2021

Dunnock Facts

Scientific name: Prunella modularis

Family: Accentors

Wingspan: 19 - 21cm (7 - 8")

Diet: Mainly seeds mixes & sunflower hearts, peanuts and insects

Habitat: Dunnocks love areas with cover as they are quite a shy and timid creature

Average Lifespan: 2 Years

Dunnock Characteristics

The dunnock is a small light brown bird with a characteristic black-streaked back. It is a relatively quiet and unobtrusive bird and at first glance appears to be somewhat bland in appearance. However, on closer inspection you'll find the dunnock features some subtle colouration, including pink legs and blue-grey head and breast. There's very little difference between male and female varieties in terms of appearance.

The dunnock also appears quite tetchy and nervous, constantly flicking its wings as it goes about its daily business. As a relatively shy creature, the dunnock prefers to reside in areas with cover.

Dunnock Breeding & Nesting

As with many birds, the nest is built exclusively by the female and constructed of twigs and moss, lined with moss and hair. True to their shy and timid nature, the dunnock's nest tends to be built within dense shrubs and hedges.

Dunnock breeding typically begins in April. The incubation period of eggs tends to be between 12-13 days, and then 11-12 fledge days thereafter. Dunnock eggs are around 19mm long and feature a glossy exterior sheen. After hatching, both parents are involved in the feeding of the young. Interestingly, other dunnocks cooperate to feed young dunnocks.

Dunnock Feeding

Dunnocks are a ground-feeding bird and enjoy snacking on insects such as ants, spiders and beetles. Over the Autumn months, you'll find seeds and berries make a perfect treat for dunnocks. They have also been known to feed on peanut granulessuets and dried mealworms.

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  1. Hello!

    Is it normal for fledgling Dunnocks to leave and remain out of the nest prior to being able to fly?

    I have a pair and their chick in my garden. The chick has been out of the nest for 3 days and looks healthy and mobile but is unable to fly.

  2. I thought I had a reasonable knowledge of uk birds, but this little chap visited our garden in Aylesbury. Bucks. I then had to look up what he was, I must admit I’d never heard of the Dunnock, but it’s song and tameness blew my wife and I away. Absolutely Stunning little bird

  3. I am sure that today, 10th February, I have just seen three young dunnocks moving and feeding as a group in my garden. Am I wrong?

  4. I believe we have a hedge sparrow in our garden
    It is sending out a rather piercing sound., a somewhat high pitched single note
    As we are in France I’m wondering if this bird may have been migrating and is lost ?
    In all the years I’ve lived here I’ve never heard such a sound