Wednesday, 10 August 2011

ABC Wednesday D is for Dunnock


The Dunnock is not a showy bird and, like so many small brown birds, seems quite insignificant, not worthy of close attention.
In fact the gradations of colour in its plumage are subtle. It is not merely brown, though from a distance it looks so. It is grey and buff, brown and black and sometimes the grey looks tinged with blue. It has a grey head with a grey eye-stripe and underparts. Its back is brown with black streaks and it has brown to buff flanks.
The Dunnock used to be called the Hedge Sparrow – in earlier centuries all small birds were referred to as sparrows. However, although it eats seeds for much of the year, it has the thin, sharp beak of an insect eater and forages for insects.  Sparrows have thicker, seed cracking bills.
It has two to three broods a year, usually laying four blue eggs. In the south of England it is targeted by the Common Cuckoo which lays one egg in the nest; the egg hatches into a huge baby bird that pushes the resident babies out of the nest and endlessly demands food. Cuckoos normally parasitise the nests of birds that lay eggs of a similar colour but there have been only one or two cases of cuckoos laying blue eggs.
At the onset of the breeding season there is a flurry of activity in the Dunnock community. The females occupy their territory and invite males to join them. Sometimes a monogamous partnership follows. More often, in two thirds of the population, more complicated arrangements are made. A male may be polygamous, a female may be polyandrous – they may be polygynandrous, all parties relying on each other to raise the resulting young, which may all have different fathers!
Click here for more Ds 

20 comments:

  1. My knowledge of birds is very limited. I recognize a sparrow, and a robin, when they are small. So I don't know if I have ever seen a Dunnock. I have to admit that birds rather avoid our garden, there is Arthur and Rosie waiting ...

    ReplyDelete
  2. How very refreshing and uplifting - a lovely D post - as ever.
    \trhanks so much, Dxx
    ABC Team

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the info. And I agree with you usually the tiny brown ones are not the usual sought after birds to picture but they also have a purpose ^_^ Thanks for the photos!

    ABC WEd

    ReplyDelete
  4. Having been away from the UK for 21 years I seem to forgetting my UK birds. This LBJ is beautiful!
    Jane x

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello.
    Interesting information. You're right...I can see a hint of blue in the feathers. Great photos.

    Thanks for sharing & for the visit too. Much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  6. birds! love seeing them. great photos and info,

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wonderful post Janice, very interesting information on this lovely little bird.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I know dunnocks, of course - we have a pair who visit regularly - but I didn't know about their complex domestic arrangements! Interesting!

    Lovely pictures. I believe they were on the endangered list a while back, and perhaps they still are.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lots of birds are socially monogamous but sexually polyamorous. They partner up to raise the kids, but mate with more than just their partner. I think it's very cool. A great strategy to increase biodiversity and survival of the species.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hmmm... yes, these darling dunnock don't look anything like the sparrows in our back yard...

    [Your son and family will definitely enjoy the Dalmatian coast... I'd happily return to both Cavtat and Dubrovnik, as well as Split!]

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love the small birds and the Dunnock sounds very interesting - not only in its colouration. I think their domestic arrangements indicate either a very mature attitude or a lack of ego...

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am not familiar with the Dunnock but after reading your description I find it to be an interesting little bird.

    ReplyDelete
  13. i had never heard of the Dunnock before. This was a great post - too often people are dazzled by the bigger flashier animals, and miss the beauty of these humbler creatures. great phots - great post. I really enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I remember my first step into blogging and the feeling that I was talking to myself and might be doing so forever. Gradually, I discovered like minds and minds that I had not expected to meet. I have learnt so much and 'met' so many interesting people and I will always be grateful that I published my first post, encouraged by my long-suffering husband:-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Well, he certainly looks quite handsome in your photos. In fact, in the last one, he is quite regal-looking!

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a pretty little bird! I enjoyed the pictures and leaning more about this bird. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for teaching us about this pretty bird. I would have mistaken it for a sparrow. Sigh... my bird knowledge is limited.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dunnock; I learned something new today.

    ReplyDelete
  19. don't know this cute little bird
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have never heard of a dunnock. Probably we don't have them here; but we do have a lot of little brown sparrows that look pretty similar!

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate that some people like to give awards but for me your comments are reward enough.

Thank you for visiting. I love to read your comments and really appreciate you taking the time to respond to posts.

I will always try to repay your visit whenever possible.