Hagbourne sparrows

House sparrows are doing well here, as usual – I’ve counted up to 20 in the garden at once. The males all have brown heads with a grey crown

House sparrows (Passer domesticus, m)

except this one with an all-brown head.
Chestnut-headed house sparrow
I think it’s just a unique individual, but I’ve posted it on Ispot just in case anyone can identify it as something else (so far there’s a suggestion of a house/tree sparrow hybrid, but most people seem to agree it’s just an odd house sparrow!)

PS 29 March – the bird returned and I posted some more shots (click through to my Flickr stream to see them), and it seems almost certain that it is a House Sparrow x Tree Sparrow hybrid. Thanks to Dave Appleton for the ID.


3 Responses to “Hagbourne sparrows”

  1. I think your photo looks very like this:

    Brown head, no white collar, no “ear” spot but brown “spur”, blackish bib across chest?

    But I’m no expert. Suggest you take a few more photos and maybe call in the experts!

    • Thanks, Rick. I saw a similar picture in the Collins bird guide, but I don’t think the Italian sparrow has ever been seen north of the Alps! I don’t have any front-view photos (black streaks might be Spanish sparrow, but I don’t think so) but I’ve posted another view on Flickr which makes the all-brown head and neck clear (no white collar). I’ll call it the “Hagbourne Sparrow” until I find out what it really is, but my best guess is just a slightly aberrant, but quite attractive, Passer domesticus.

  2. The tertials are also aberrant (not a normal pattern for any sparrow species), so I think you’re right in that it’s a dud rather than a hybrid.

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