Sturdy bird of small size (approx 17 cm or 6.5 in). Black-brown upperparts, head and breast of slate gray colour, reddish flanks and belly with whitish stripes. The wings are dark brown with white specks as bands. It can exhibit a small neck-collar of black and white specks that is lost after the summer. The bill is yellowish and its legs are pale.
High mountain species. Present in snow and rock fields, screes, meadows or areas of creeping scrub (juniper fields, for example). Common in the vicinity of ski resorts.
Wintering species in the province. Late breeding, from June. The Alpine Accentor makes two annual layings of 2 to 6 eggs. Nest in a hollow or between rocks, on the ground. Insectivore, hunting at ground level. Specialized in catching insects trapped in the ice. It consumes fruits, seeds and remains of food in mountain shelters, ski facilities and wherever there are hikers.
Frequent but not abundant species in the highlands of Sierra de las Nieves (Los Pilones) and Sierra Tejeda (La Maroma). It is also present in Llanos de Líbar, El Chorro and El Torcal. In the Great Path it can be watched in stage 11.
It is a very confident bird with the human presence and very faithful to its wintering areas, so it is easy to observe. The reproduction is in groups but not promiscuous. That is, a group of males exclusively shares a group of females. The purpose is to create a breeding cooperative, something necessary to move the chicks up in high mountain environments as hostile as in those in where accentors live.