Birds to look for in April — Dunnock

Photo credit: Paul Green

Where to look

They like to keep close to cover and can be found in woodland, farmland edges, parks and gardens.


The dunnock (Prunella modularis) is a small brown bird often confused with a sparrow. They are frequently overlooked because they are so understated. Even their common name comes from dun, meaning dingy brown or dark-coloured! The Dunnock is a relatively common garden bird although its numbers have gone down in recent years. It’s hard to tell the males and females apart because they look similar. Although they are shy and understated their lives are far from boring! Once mated the females will often court other males so making sure that she has two males supplying her and her chicks with food, while in the south of England, dunnocks are the preferred host for cuckoos and end up bringing up the cuckoo chicks!  They eat insects, spiders, worms and seeds.

Tweet of the Day
To hear the dunnock’s song follow the link below to the BBC’s Tweet of the Day

Where we've found Dunnocks

Dunnock spottings journal (15 seen)

Last seen Location Spotted by Group Notes
16 Apr 2021 Stroud Tamsin Stroud Valleys Project
4 Jan 2021 Stroud Valleys Project
16 Jul 2020 Garden Ella The Weaver's
30 Apr 2020 In garden Chloe Trinity Nesting in our garden in the centre of Stroud
29 Apr 2020 canal hedge Pops Cooks&Co
28 Apr 2020 Tidenham Carrie St John's on-the-Hill I spotted a dunnock in a big oak tree.
28 Apr 2020 NP16 6BT Harry St John's on-the-Hill We spotted a dunnock high up in a tree on the far side of the river. When we moved closer one of the dogs startled it so we couldn't get a photo!
28 Apr 2020 Chepstow Dexter St John's on-the-Hill Dunnocks nesting in the roof!
28 Apr 2020 Daniel and Mrs S St John's on-the-Hill We heard lots of dunnocks and saw one on our bird feeder.
27 Apr 2020 Garden Amélie Cooks&Co
23 Apr 2020 Lost in the Wild
14 Apr 2020 playground Stroud Valley Community School
11 Apr 2020 In our garden Xavier MogsHouse
3 Apr 2020 Belmont Road Wickham Bassetts at Home
31 Mar 2020 New Polzeath, Cornwall. Gavin Blended Spotted in my garden in New Polzeath, Cornwall.


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