basic information

Black-throated Accentor

Prunella atrogularis (Brandt, 1844)

Черногорлая завирушка | Қаратамақ содырғы

Big Almaty lake.
© Askar Isabekov


The adult Black-throated Accentor in breeding plumage has brownish-black crown sometimes with buffy-grey edges of feathers. The neck and mantle are buffy-brownish with black-brown neat streaks, the rump and uppertail are grayish-brown. The bright almost white supercilium extends from the bill to nape. Lores, ear covers, chin and throat are brown-black, the craw and breast are buffy, other underparts are off-white with dark-brown streaks on flanks. The flight feathers and its coverts are dark-brown with buffy-brownish edges, especially on greater coverts. The tail feathers are dark-brown. Legs are yellow, eyes are brown. In fresh autumn plumage the buffy-brownish edges on the upperparts and wings feathers are much expanded. Moreover more pale tips of greater coverts form the narrow wing-bar. Supercilium, craw and breast are bright buffy, the same color edges sometimes fully hide the black throat and chin. Juvenile bird is buffy-brownish above with neat black-brown streaks on mantle and faint streaks on crown. Supercilium and underparts are off-white with dark-brown streaks lacking on the median-belly and undertail. Sizes: length 150-170; males – wing 68-77; females – wing 68-73 mm; weight: 14,5 – 23,6 grams.


The Black-throated Accentor breeds in the mountains of east and south-east Kazakhstan, on wintering occurs also on adjacent plains until the Balkhash lake. Sometimes occurs in other parts of Kazakhstan. The detailed distribution in Kazakhstan please see in the chapter "Subspecies".


The Black-throated Accentor is a common resident and/or passage migrant. Inhabits coniferous forest (spruce, larch, spruce/fir) with shrubby clearings; mixed forest with birch and asp, and light juniper/spruce forest at 1400-2800 m in Tien Shan, and 1400-2000 m in Altai. On passage occurs in gardens, forest-belt, riparian forest, tall weeds and rarely in reed beds. In spring, movements in southern areas observed between mid February and mid April. In Altai appears late in March to mid of April, last migrants recorded in mid May. Breeds in separate pairs 40-200 m each from another. Nest is built in trees (spruce, larch) or bushes (juniper, honeysuckle, willow, dog-rose, cornel-bush) 0.4-15 m, often 1-2 m off the ground, and is made of thin twigs, dry grass and moss lined with hair and sometimes with vegetation fluff and some feathers. Only female builds the nest over 7-18 days. Clutches of 3-6 eggs found early May – late July. Female incubates for 11-14 days, male only rarely feeding her. Both parents feed juveniles, who fledge at 11-14 days, from mid June to mid August. Double, sometimes triple brooded, repeated breeding after nest loss is common. Autumn passage begins late in September to early October. At Chokpak Pass singles of nominate subspecies were caught repeatedly 14-30 October in 1968, 1970, 1976, 1990, 1994-1995, 2003-2004.


Prunella atrogularis atrogularis (Brandt, 1844)

    Description. Upperparts are paler, the dark mantle streaks are less neat and paler; the bill is shorter and thinner than on huttoni. The black throat and buffy breast are divided by the white. The 1st primary is always shorter than the greater primary coverts; the 2nd primary is longer or equal than the 6th one.
    Distribution. Occurs in Kazakhstan on migration and wintering on Ural valley at Orenburg and Burannaya station; and also in Central Kyzylkum. Probably this subspecies recorded in Kurgaldzhino Reserve, Karaganda and Northern Kyzylkum. On Ile valley close to Charyn inflowing the one bird was caught on December 5 2004, together with one huttoni. Details of distribution are poorly known.

Prunella atrogularis menzbieri (Portenko, 1929)

    Description. Darker than atrogularis, the dark streaks on mantle are broader, flank-streaks are darker than in atrogularis. Bill is strong, bill length from nostrille is more than 7.5 mm (less then 7.5 mm in atrogularis). 2PM < 6PM (2PM > 6PM in atrogularis).
    Distribution. Breeds in forests of South-West Altai. On passage and wintering occurs in Altai foothills; on Irtysh valley up to Semipalatinsk; in Kalbinskiy Altai; Zaysan depression.

Prunella atrogularis huttoni (Horsfield et Moore, 1854)

    Description. Upperparts are darker, the dark mantle streaks are neater and darker; the bill is longer and thicker than on atrogularis. The black throat and buffy breast aren't divided by the white. The 1st primary is usually equal or longer than the greater primary coverts; the 2nd primary is shorter than the 6th one.
    Distribution. Breeds in coniferous forests of Tien Shan, Dzhungarskiy Alatau, Saur. In end June – early July 1996 observed in Aksu-Dzhabagly Reserve, on Kaskabulak gorge. On passage and wintering occurs in Ile valley up to delta; lower reaches of Chu river; in Karatau and near Tashkent.


"Птицы Казахстана" том 3. "Наука". Алма-Ата, 1970. Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999. Г.П. Дементьев "Птицы СССР" том IV, 1937.



Prunella atrogularis atrogularis
(Brandt, 1844)
Prunella atrogularis menzbieri
(Portenko, 1929)
Prunella atrogularis huttoni
(Horsfield et Moore, 1854)

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