Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The private life of the Dunnock

The Dunnock is, on the face of it, a shy, mouse-like small brown bird. Most of the time it shuffles around on the ground slipping in amongst the tangle of shrubs and hedges, hence its other name of Hedge Sparrow.


However, it does have another side when it comes to its sex life! It's mating system includes a good deal of partner swapping and embraces polygyny (two females with a single male), polyandry (a female with two or three males) and polygynandry (two or three males sharing two three or four females).

It has one of the sweetest of songs usually sung from a prominent perch and is one of the first songs to be heard when warmer weather comes in early spring.

This particular bird was creeping about in my flower border and seems to be going through a moult so isn't looking its best. When they are in tip top condition, there are very smart in an understated grey and brown way.

6 comments:

Roy said...

At my discreet best here Jen. {:)

When they are not scruffy they are quite colourful birds really, (although not bright) they have a lot of pattern in their plumage. They have a really fantastic song when singing from the top of a bush or small tree.

Mary said...

My, my.....poly-doodling every which way! It's a cute little bird for such a wild life :-) I answered your question about that red crested cardinal...they do come from South America and have also been introduced to Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Jenny said...

Hi Roy
I really like the subtlety of them and I love the sweet song.

Hi Mary, quite surprising little critters! Thanks for replying about the Cardinal, I'd love to see that sometime. Maybe one day.....

Adrian said...

Hey Wren

Love Dunnocks - they always just potter around on the floor minding their own business and letting all the others do the fighting over the nuts and seed holders!

See you soon, Adgi

Eve said...

That Dunnock is a sweet little sparrow. I found the song here
http://www.northamptonshirewildlife.co.uk/sound/dunnoc2.wav
extra special sweet!!

Mosura said...

Beautiful birds despite there private life. I have a photo of one on the snow ...somewhere. For LBJ's they have a very detailed feather pattern close up.