It is unfortunate that the widely-known name Accentor cannot be used for any of the Hedge-sparrows, and therefore Laiscopus Gloger, Handl. u. Hilfsb. p. 267 (1841), must be used in its place for the bigger Hedge-Sparrows and Prunella instead of Tharrhaleus, as the former name dates from 1816 (Vieill. Analyse nouv. Orn. p. 43) and the latter only from 1829 (Kaup). As the name Accentor cannot be applied to these birds, the subfamily must be known by the name of the oldest genus and hence becomes Prunellinae as above, of which Prunella collaris collaris may be accepted as the type. For the same reason I have reverted to the trivial name Hedge-Sparrow, even though such a term may be technically incorrect.
The Prunellinae are sometimes accepted as a separate family on account of the scutellation of the tarsus, and 1 should follow this practice but for the fact, already commented on, of some of the Chats when young having similar scutellations, persisting in a few individuals until the second year.
The plumage of the young is essentially Thrush-like, and there can be no doubt of their proper place either with or next to the Turdidae.
The Hedge-Sparrows are comparatively small birds, Palaearctic and sub-tropical in their habitat. The sexes are alike; the bill is finely pointed and slightly notched, wide at the base and compressed towards the middle; the nostrils are large, diagonal and covered by a membrane; the rictal bristles are few and weak ; the feathers of the forehead slightly disintegrated and the tail is either square or a little forked.
There is a seasonal, but not very conspicuous, change of plumage owing to the abrasion of the feathers in "Winter, and the young moult into the adult plumage the first Autumn.
Key to Genera.
A. Wing long and pointed, over 88 mm Laiscopus, p. 187.
B. Wing short and rounded, always less than
85 mm Prunella, p. 192.