Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)

OTHER NAMES: Willow Sparrow
Latin Etymology: Passer ("sparrow") hispaniolensis ("Spanish")
                                       Male Spanish Sparrow (subspecies P. h. hispaniolensisat Laguna Campillo, Spain - April 2016

Featured Subspecies: Passer hispaniolensis hispaniolensis
Weight: 22-36g  /  Length: 15-16cm  /  Wingspan: 23-26cm
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern 

Despite the name, this is a species found over a wide range from Iberia to Central Asia and a close relation of the House Sparrow.  However, in comparison to that species, they are considerably less accustomed to human presence, being far more rural to the point of even generally avoiding human buildings.  I saw small numbers in several locations on my second trip to Madrid, but generally they seemed to be associated with the borders of grassland and trees.  The female is basically indistinguishable from that of the House Sparrow, but the very black streaked chest makes the male distinctive.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Passeridae
Genus: Passer
P. h. hispaniolensis, P. h. transcaspicus 

 - Sighting Locations -
SPAIN - Spanish - GorriĆ³n Moruno - ("Moorish Sparrow")
Widespread but local resident in rural habitats, often associating with House Sparrow.
 - MADRID 2016 TRIP: Seen at Navaseca (1 male), Monfrague (3 males) and Rivas Vaciamadrid (1 male).  Females may have been present, but are indistinguishable from female House Sparrow in the field.

Further Notes: 
BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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