AskDefine | Define accentor

Dictionary Definition

accentor n : small sparrow-like songbird of mountainous regions of Eurasia

User Contributed Dictionary



Latin ad + cantor singer, canere to sing


  • /ækˈsɛntʃʊəl/


  1. (Music), (Obsolete): One who sings the leading part; the director or leader.
  2. A genus of European birds (so named from their sweet notes), including the hedge warbler. In America sometimes applied to the water thrushes.
2. A bird of the Prunellidae family.

See also

Extensive Definition

The accentors are in the only bird family, Prunellidae, which is completely endemic to the Palearctic. This small group of closely related passerines are all in a single 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. This genus is not strongly migratory, but they will leave the coldest parts of their range in winter, and make altitudinal movements.
These are small, fairly drab species superficially similar, but unrelated to, sparrows. However, accentors have thin sharp bills, reflecting their diet of insects in summer, augmented with seeds and berries in winter.
They build neat cup nests and lay about 4 unspotted green or blue eggs. Both sexes incubate.
Harrison (An Atlas of the Birds of the Western Palaearctic, 1982) used the group name Dunnock for all of the species, not just Prunella modularis (thus e.g. Japanese Dunnock for P. rubida); this usage has much to be said for it, based as it is on the oldest known name for any of the species (old English dun-, brown, + -ock, small bird: "little brown bird"), and a much more euphonious name than the contrived "Accentor". Accentor was the scientific name for the Alpine Accentor (Accentor collaris). It comes from Late Latin, meaning "sing with another" (ad + cantor).

External links

accentor in Danish: Jernspurve
accentor in German: Braunellen
accentor in Spanish: Prunellidae
accentor in Esperanto: Proneledoj
accentor in French: Accenteur
accentor in Italian: Prunellidae
accentor in Georgian: ჭვინტაკასებრნი
accentor in Lithuanian: Erškėtžvirbliniai
accentor in Hungarian: Szürkebegyfélék
accentor in Dutch: Heggenmussen
accentor in Norwegian: Jernspurver
accentor in Polish: Płochacze
accentor in Portuguese: Prunellinae
accentor in Russian: Завирушки
accentor in Finnish: Rautiaiset
accentor in Swedish: Järnsparvar
accentor in Turkish: Dağbülbülügiller
accentor in Chinese: 岩鹨属
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