Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris


Justification of Red List category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 77,900-149,000 pairs, which equates to 156,000-298,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.10% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 1,560,000-2,980,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. National population estimates include: c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in China; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs in Taiwan; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs in Japan and c.100-10,000 breeding pairs in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. The European population trend is not known (BirdLife International 2015).


During the breeding season this species is found principally in areas with low cliffs, screes, rocky mountain slopes and alpine meadows above tree-line and up to snow-line often close to snow patches. It breeds almost exclusively in mountain ranges; at 1,800–3,000 m in Switzerland, Caucasus and Pyrenees. Outside the breeding season, it usually occurs at lower elevations in rocky and scrubby habitats, often close to human habitation in villages and near livestock, including woodland edges, roadsides, gardens and farms. It breeds from May to August and is polygynandrous. The nest is a cup made from grass, moss and plant stems, lined with hair and feathers and sited in a rock crevice or beneath a rock or grass tussock on a cliff or shallower slope. It lays three to four eggs. It feeds mainly on insects as well as spiders, small snails, earthworms and some vegetable matter. The species is resident or an altitudinal migrant, on local scale but in some areas it migrates over a considerable distance (Hatchwell and Christie 2016).


Populations vary greatly annually, most likely as a result of differences in weather conditions and snow cover. Locally, outside the breeding season, predation by cats and other predators is thought to be behind declines (Hatchwell and Christie 2016). The species is also threatened by disturbance from recreational activities and development (Cichocki 2004).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Local control of predators may be necessary in some areas. Important breeding areas should be protected from development and restrictions on access implemented.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Ashpole, J

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Prunella collaris. Downloaded from on 22/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/09/2023.