Russet sparrow

The russet sparrow is a passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae. It exhibits sexual dimorphism, with the plumage of both sexes patterned similarly to that of the corresponding sex of house sparrow. Its vocalisations are sweet and musical chirps, which when strung together form a song.

About Russet sparrow in brief

Summary Russet sparrowThe russet sparrow is a passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae. Its plumage is mainly warm rufous above and grey below. It exhibits sexual dimorphism, with the plumage of both sexes patterned similarly to that of the corresponding sex of house sparrow. Its vocalisations are sweet and musical chirps, which when strung together form a song. Three subspecies are recognised, differing chiefly in the yellowness of their underparts. It is the typical sparrow of human habitations in towns where the house and Eurasian tree sparrows are absent. It feeds mainly on the seeds of herbs and grains, but it also eats berries and insects, particularly during the breeding season. The male chooses the nest site before finding a mate and uses the nest for courtship display. The typical clutch contains five or six whitish eggs. Both sexes incubate and feed the young. In some parts of its range, the russett sparrow migrates, at least to lower altitudes. During the last glacial period about 25,000 to 15,000 years ago, it would have been isolated in ice-free refugia, such as the lower Yangtze valley, which have been considered the most likely centre of evolution for the russet sparrow. It has generally been seen as a close relation of the house sp Sparrow, and Richard Meinertzhagen even considered it to be the same species as the Somali sparrow, one of the Palearctic black-bibbed sparrow’s closest relatives.

However, DNA evidence suggests speciation in Passer occurred during the Miochrrial and Plondiocene, during the last Miocene, and it is now considered to be an early basal species among the Palearctic black- bibbed sparrows. It was described as Fringilla rutilans, by the Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck, from a specimen collected in Japan in 1835. Its specific name comes from the New Latin cinnamomeus, “cinnamon-coloured”. It is known well enough in the Himalayas to have a distinct name in some languages, and is depicted in Japanese art. It appeared sometime in 1836 but as the precise date is not known under the rules of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature it is deemed to have been published on 31 December 1836. In the southern part of its. range, it prefers higher altitudes, but in the north it breeds by the sea. It is a minor pest in agricultural areas, but also a predator of insect pests. It forms flocks when not breeding, although it associates with other bird species infrequently. It has usually been placed in the genus Passer, and within this genus it is seen as an early offshoot or offshoot of the Eurasian tree sparrow as well as the Eurasian trees.