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Dunnock Bird

Dunnock, Identification, Habitat and Food


20th August 2013


Length: 14cm

The Dunnock is similar to the female House Sparrow, it is often called the hedge sparrow. They grey head and under parts and the thin insect-eating bill distinguish it from the others. The adult has black streaks on its upper parts, brown crown and ear coverts and a narrow, dull yellow wing-bar. The youngsters are less reddish and more heavily speckled, their heads are also browner.

The Dunnock hunts for food on the ground among dead leaves, either hopping about or dragging its body almost horizontally along the ground, with its legs bent and its belly almost brushing the earth. It perches on low branches among leaves and flies for short distances. Generally an inconspicuous bird, often remaining undercover.


A high-pitched, whistling ‘tseep’.


Breeding starts in early April (sometimes March). The nest is built by both sexes from twigs, moss, dry leaves and other plant material and is usually situated between a half to three metres above the ground in a tree or among shrubs and bushes. It is lined with moss and hair. The Dunnock lays four or five uniform bright blue (very rarely with small reddish markings), or plain white eggs. The female incubates the eggs for about twelve days, although both sexes tend the young.


The Dunnock inhabits a wide variety of bushy areas including scrub, heaths, parks and gardens, also woodland.

Natural Food

Insects, spiders and worms, also seeds.

Where to Feed

Feeders – Not suitable

Table – Not suitable

Ground – Scatter food near cover