Don't forget: you can click on an image to enlarge it!

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Italian Sparrows: what's the story, morning glory?

I've seen two Sparrows that seemed to possess many of the features of the Italian species Passer italiae: one in Budleigh, South Devon, and one in Northrepps, Norfolk. At the moment there's another candidate - in South Brent, also in Devon - that seems to have good credibility. The current bird has a white semi-supercilium, which the Norfolk bird lacked: this, apparently, is a compelling feature.

I seem to recall that both of the individuals I've encountered were eventually dismissed as Tree Sparrow / House Sparrow hybrids: were either DNA tested? Online I've seen it suggested that the Italian Sparrow is a 'stable hybrid' between Spanish Sparrow and House Sparrow: perhaps there's a 'stable hybrid' colony of Tree / House Sparrows in South Devon!

The photos of the Devon birds below are by R.Harris and Steve Hopper (hope they don't mind!) The Norfolk pictures are mine.

Northrepps, 2013

South Brent, 2020

East Budleigh, 2017

No comments: