Close up of a dunnock (c) Paul Fram


Dunnocks are common little garden and hedgerow birds. They have a rather more colourful domestic arrangement than most birds, since females will often court other males whilst already mated with another. This ensures that her chicks will receive an adequate supply of food from both males, no matter who the father is. In the south of England, dunnocks are the preferred host for cuckoos. Even though cuckoo eggs look very different to their own, dunnocks unwittingly rear giant cuckoo chicks.

Scientific name: Prunella modularis

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Hedge accentor,
  • Hedge sparrow,
  • Hedge warbler

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Map showing the distribution of the Dunnock taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Dunnock can be found in a number of locations including: Asia, Europe, Mediterranean, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Dunnock distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Perching birds
  6. Prunellidae
  7. Prunella
  8. Dunnock

BBC News about Dunnock

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