Accentor

The accentors are a genus of birds in the family Prunellidae, which is the only bird family endemic to the Palearctic. This small group of closely related passerines are all in the genus Prunella. All but the dunnock and the Japanese accentor are inhabitants of the mountainous regions of Europe and Asia; these two also occur in lowland areas, as does the Siberian accentor in the far north of Siberia. These birds are not strongly migratory, but they will leave the coldest parts of their range in winter and make altitudinal movements.[1]

Accentor
Dunnock crop2
Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Prunellidae
Richmond, 1908
Genus: Prunella
Vieillot, 1816
Species

See text.

Synonyms

Laiscopus

Taxonomy and etymology

The genus Prunella was introduced by the French ornithologist Louis Vieillot in 1816 with the dunnock (Prunella modularis) as the type species.[2] Although the genus is usually used for all the accentors, the alpine accentor and Altai accentor are sometimes separated into the genus Laiscopus.[3]

Harrison [4] used the group name dunnock for all of the species, not just Prunella modularis (thus e.g. Japanese dunnock for P. rubida); this usage is based on the oldest known name for any of the species (old English dun-, brown, + -ock, small: "little brown bird"[5]). Accentor derives from the old scientific name for the Alpine accentor (Accentor collaris). It comes from Late Latin, meaning "sing with another" (ad + cantor).[6] The genus name Prunella is from the German Braunelle, "dunnock", a diminutive of braun, "brown".[7]

Description

These are small, fairly drab species superficially similar, but unrelated to, sparrows; they are generally regarded as being related to the thrushes or the warblers. They are 14 to 18 centimetres in length, and weigh between 25 and 35 grams.[1] However, accentors have thin sharp bills, reflecting their diet of ground-dwelling insects in summer, augmented with seeds and berries in winter. They may also swallow grit and sand to help their stomach break up these seeds.[8]

Most of the species live together in flocks. The dunnock is an exception since it prefers to be solitary except when feeding. The dunnock also earned a nickname of "shuffle-wing" since it most strongly displays the characteristic wing flicks used during courtship and other displays.[8]

Accentors may have two to three broods a year. Courtship consists of a great deal of song from the males, which may include short lark-like song flights to attract a mate. In most species, the male and female share in the nest making, with the dunnocks again being an exception – their males have no part in nest building or incubation. They build neat cup nests and lay about 4 unspotted green or blue eggs.[1] The eggs are incubated for around 12 days. The young are fed by both parents and take an additional 12 days or so to fledge.[8]

Habitat

Their typical habitat is mountainous regions in an area far above the tree-line, but below the snow-line. The Himalayan accentor can be found as high as 17,000 ft above sea level when breeding, however, most accentors breed in scrub vegetation at lower levels. Most species migrate downwards to spend the winter, with only some being hardy enough to remain. Accentors spend the majority of their time in the undergrowth and even when flushed, stay low to the ground until reaching cover.[8]

Species list

FAMILY: PRUNELLIDAE

References

  1. ^ a b c McClure, H. Elliott (1991). Forshaw, Joseph (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. p. 184. ISBN 1-85391-186-0.
  2. ^ Vieillot, Louis Jean Pierre (1816). Analyse d'une Nouvelle Ornithologie Elementaire (in French). Paris: Deterville/self. p. 43.
  3. ^ HBW Volume 10, page 496.
  4. ^ Harrison, An Atlas of the Birds of the Western Palaearctic, 1982
  5. ^ Chambers Dictionary
  6. ^ "Accentor". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, United Kingdom: Christopher Helm. p. 318. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  8. ^ a b c d Burton, Maurice; Burton, Robert (1974). The Funk & Wagnalls Wildlife Encyclopedia. 1. New York, N.Y.: Funk and Wagnalls. OCLC 20316938.

External links

Accentor-class minesweeper

The Accentor-class minesweeper, sometimes called the Accentor/Acme-class minesweeper, was a small minesweeper used by the United States Navy during World War II. The Accentor-class minesweeper was designed for the sweeping of mines in harbors, bays, and other littoral waters.

Alpine accentor

The alpine accentor (Prunella collaris) is a small passerine bird in the family Prunellidae.

Black-throated accentor

The black-throated accentor (Prunella atrogularis) is a small passerine bird found in the Ural, Tian Shan and Altai Mountains. It is migratory, wintering in Afghanistan and neighboring countries. It is a rare vagrant in western Europe.

The black-throated accentor builds a neat nest low in spruce thickets, laying 3-5 unspotted blue eggs. It winters in scrub or cultivation.

This is a dunnock-sized bird, 13.5–14 cm in length. It has a streaked dark brown back, somewhat resembling a house sparrow, but adults have a black crown, face patch and throat, and a white supercilium. The breast is orange, and the belly white with orange stripes. Like other accentors, this species has an insectivore's fine pointed bill.

Sexes are similar, but winter birds and juveniles are less contrasted. In particular, the dark throat may be almost absent in young birds.

The call is a fine ti-ti-ti, and the song is similar to the dunnock's pleasant twittering.

Dunnock

The dunnock (Prunella modularis) is a small passerine, or perching bird, found throughout temperate Europe and into Asia. Dunnocks have also been successfully introduced into New Zealand. It is by far the most widespread member of the accentor family, which otherwise consists of mountain species. Other common names of the dunnock include the hedge accentor, hedge sparrow, or hedge warbler.

USS Accentor (AMc-36)

The first USS Accentor (AMc-36) was the lead boat of the Accentor of coastal minesweepers in the service of the United States Navy, named after the accentor bird.

She was laid down on 21 January 1941 by W. A. Robinson, launched on 10 May 1941, sponsored by Mrs. W. A. Robinson, and commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 24 July 1941 with Lt. (jg) Gordon Abbott in command.

USS Avenge (AMc-66)

USS Avenge (AMc-66) was an Accentor-class coastal minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the dangerous task of removing mines from minefields laid in the water to prevent ships from passing.

Bulwark was laid down on 8 May 1941 at South Bristol, Maine, by the Bristol Yacht Building Co.; renamed Avenge on 17 May 1941; launched on 14 February 1942; sponsored by Mrs. William A. Parker; and placed in service at Boston, Massachusetts, on 2 April 1942.

USS Bateleur

USS Bateleur (AMc-37) was an Accentor-class coastal minesweeper in the U.S. Navy. She was named after the bateleur, a short-tailed eagle common to eastern Africa.

Bateleur was laid down on 21 January 1941 at Ipswich, Massachusetts, by W. A. Robinson, Inc.; launched on 12 May 1941; sponsored by Mrs. Warren S. Little; fitted out for naval service by the Boston Navy Yard; and placed in service there on 18 August 1941, Ensign Burrill D. Barker, Jr., USNR, in charge.

USS Caracara (AMc-40)

USS Caracara (AMc-40), an Accentor-class minesweeper commissioned by the U.S. Navy for use during World War II, was named after the Caracara, a large South American bird of prey.

USS Conqueror (AMc-70)

USS Conqueror (AMc-70) was an Accentor-class coastal minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the dangerous task of removing mines from minefields laid in the water to prevent ships from passing.

Conqueror was built by Warren Fish Company, Pensacola, Florida,

USS Cotinga (AMc-43)

USS Cotinga (AMc-43), a U.S. Navy Accentor-class coastal minesweeper built for the U.S. Navy for service in World War II, was named after the cotinga, a passerine bird of South America and Central America.

Cotinga was launched 25 March 1941 by Gibbs Gas Engine Co., Jacksonville, Florida, and commissioned 14 June 1941 at Norfolk, Virginia, Lieutenant S. W. Carr, USNR, in command.

USS Courlan (AMc-44)

USS Courlan (AMc-44) was an Accentor-class coastal minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the dangerous task of removing mines from minefields laid in the water to prevent ships from passing.

The first ship to be named Courlan by the Navy, AMC-44 served in an "in service" status from 1941 to 1947.

USS Develin (AMc-45)

USS Develin (AMc-45) was an Accentor-class coastal minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the dangerous task of removing mines from minefields laid in the water to prevent ships from passing.

Develin was launched by the Gibbs Gas Engine Co., Jacksonville, Florida, on 10 April 1941.

USS Exultant (AMc-79)

USS Exultant (AMc-79) was an Accentor-class minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy.

USS Fulmar (AMc-46)

USS Fulmar (AMc-46) was an Accentor-class coastal minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the dangerous task of removing mines from minefields laid in the water to prevent ships from passing.

The first ship to be named Fulmar by the Navy, AMC-46 was launched 25 February 1941 by Greenport Basin and Construction Company, Greenport, Long Island, New York; sponsored by Mrs. A. V. Walters; and commissioned 25 June 1941, Lieutenant (junior grade) A. Russell, USNR, in command.

USS Guide (AMc-83)

USS Guide (AMc-83) was an Accentor-class coastal minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the dangerous task of removing mines from minefields laid in the water to prevent ships from passing.

Guide was launched 20 September 1941 by the Camden Shipbuilding & Marine Railway Co., Camden, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. Cary Bok, Jr.; and commissioned 17 March 1942, Lt. (j.g.) Alvin Hero in command.

USS Limpkin (AMc-48)

USS Limpkin (AMc-48) was an Accentor-class coastal minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for clearing coastal minefields.

The first ship to be named Limpkin by the Navy, AMc-48 was laid down 24 February 1941 by Greenport Basin and Construction Company, Long Island, New York; launched 5 April 1941; sponsored by Miss Elsie Thornhill; and placed in service 8 August 1941.

USS Paramount (AMc-92)

USS Paramount (AMc-92) was an Accentor-class coastal minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the dangerous task of removing mines from minefields laid in the water to prevent ships from passing.

Paramount was laid down 14 April 1941 by the Delaware Bay SB Co., Inc. Leesburg, New Jersey; launched 9 August 1941; and placed in service 31 December 1941.

USS Roller (AMc-52)

USS Roller (AMc-52) was an Accentor-class coastal minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the dangerous task of removing mines from minefields laid in the water to prevent ships from passing.

Roller was laid down 27 December 1940 at the Snow Shipyards, Rockland, Maine; launched 14 May 1941; sponsored by Miss Linda Ann Dean; and placed in service 12 August 1941, Lt. (jg) H. E. Ferrill, USNR, in charge.

USS Victor (AMc-109)

USS Victor (AMc-109) was an Accentor-class coastal minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the dangerous task of removing mines from minefields laid in the water to prevent ships from passing.

Victor, a wooden-hulled coastal minesweeper, was laid down on 14 July 1941 at Rockland, Maine, by the Snow Shipyard, Inc.; launched on 6 December 1941; sponsored by Miss Virginia Hanson; and placed in service at the Boston Navy Yard on 17 April 1942.

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