Family Accentors (Prunellidae)

Least Concern

Alpine Accentor (Prunella collaris)


French: Accenteur alpin German: Alpenbraunelle Spanish: Acentor alpino

Sturnus collaris


, 1769,

Kärnten, south Austria


Sometimes placed in a separate genus, Laiscopus, with P. himalayana (which see). In present species some genetic structure detected#R, but situation unclear; no significant vocal differences found in limited available recordings#R. Birds from Corsica, described as race tschusii, considered inseparable from nominate. Nine subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. collaris (Scopoli, 1769) – mountains from SW Europe E to Slovenia and Carpathians, Corsica and NW Africa (Moroccan Atlas, occasionally N Algeria#R).
  • P. c. subalpina (C. L. Brehm, 1831) – SE Europe (Croatia E to Bulgaria, S to Greece, including Crete) and SW Turkey.
  • P. c. montana (Hablizl, 1783) – N & E Turkey and Caucasus S to Iran and E to Turkmenistan.
  • P. c. rufilata (Severtsov, 1879) – Kyrgyzstan E along Tien Shan, and from NE Afghanistan and extreme N Pakistan E along Pamirs to W China (Kunlun Shan).
  • P. c. erythropygia (Swinhoe, 1870) – Altai Mts E to SE Russia, S to N & E Mongolia, NE China and N Korea; also Japan (C Honshu).
  • P. c. whymperi (E. C. S. Baker, 1915) – W Himalayas (Ladakh E to Kumaon).
  • P. c. tibetana (Bianchi, 1904) – E Tibetan Plateau (S from Nan Shan, E to Gansu).
  • P. c. nipalensis (Blyth, 1843) – Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, SC China (SE Xizang, SW Sichuan, N Yunnan) and N Myanmar.
  • P. c. fennelli Deignan, 1964 – Taiwan.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–19 cm; male 40 g and female 36 g (collaris), male 45 g and female 39g (erythropygia), sexes combined c. 30 g (rufilata, whymperi... read more


    Male song, usually from ground (often a prominent rock) but also in flight, loud and musical, a... read more


    In breeding season, principally low cliffs, screes, rocky mountain slopes and alpine meadows above... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet largely insects, including orthopterans, beetles (Coleoptera), earwigs (Dermaptera), heteropteran bugs, mayflies (Ephemeroptera),... read more


    Breeds May–Aug; double-brooded. Detailed studies in Europe (Pyrenees) and in Japanese Alps. Polygynandrous mating system, 2–5... read more


    Resident or altitudinal migrant, on local scale or over considerable distance. Movements in C... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally common. No estimate of global numbers available; European population estimated to be c. 55,000–73,000 “pairs”,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hatchwell, B. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Alpine Accentor (Prunella collaris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 10 December 2019).