Reddish Vale Country Park
At first glance the Dunnock, also known as Hedge Sparrow or Hedge Accentor, looks like a dull sleek sparrow. On closer inspection it is quite attractive with it's blue-grey head and breast, light and dark brown streaky back, brown streaked flanks and pink legs. The bill is finer than that of the sparrow, because it feeds mainly on insects and not seeds.
The Dunnock is predominantly a ground feeder and feeds on insects, such as beetles spiders and ants, which they search through leaf litter and among plant roots to find. In the autumn and winter they will eat seeds and berries. The Robin and the Dunnock have similar diets, consequently in winter when food is in short supply Robins often chase Dunnocks away.
Dunnock nests are built by the female in dense shrubs or hedges. The cup shaped nest is lined with moss and hair, and built from twigs and moss. Their nests are often parasitized by Cuckoos.
The Dunnock is on the Amber List of birds of medium conservation concern because after a serious decline in numbers during the 1980's, indications are that the population is recovering, but may still be struggling in it's natural habitat owing to changes in woodland management.
Lifespan, up to 9yrs.
Breeding pairs, 2,000,000.
mainly insects, berries and seeds in winter.