Which Sparrow?

  • Thank you everyone for your postings on identification and the information that you have shared.
    I am sorry that the photo was so poor. I have put up a wildlife camera this afternoon and maybe if the bird returns I may get a better image. However, even if it doesn't, I have found all this information on this posting really helpful.
  • No problem. Re i.d. always best to start with the obvious. The only thing, IMO, suggesting it isn't a house sparrow is the apparent dark mark on the cheek. IMO that black mark isn't quite large enough for it to be a tree sparrow.
    However, leaving whether it is or isn't, the pro house sparrow theory has several things in its favour:-
    1) Apparent grey ear coverts
    2) Apparent whiteish mark directly behind eye
    3) One white wing bar.
    4) Pale bill that immature males routinely have. (not withstanding rare conditions that may occur elsewhere)
    5) Large bill (seems too large for tree sparrow?)
    6) Brown crown appears more house sparrow brown than tree sparrow.
    7) Crown continues down, extending below dark patch on cheek and round under ear covert (tree sparrow ear coverts are whiter and cut across crown preventing it extending down and around).

  • In reply to Robbo:

    Thanks for the advice and I will keep looking, just on the off chance I am lucky enough that a tree sparrow does visit one day.
  • In reply to LJB:

    No probs. Tree sparrows aren’t a mobile species in UK. Roughly which part of UK are you in?
  • Robbo, just a point on House/Tree Sparrows we two sites locally that holds both species and there has been some cross breeding, the lengths these birds will go to to confuse us birders


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • In reply to Robbo:

    I live in the South East and a neighbouring farm has a small colony of tree sparrows, so I do look now and again to see if any of the birds that visit the garden, have a spot on their cheek. Although from some comments written today it sounds unlikely that a tree sparrow would be seen at a garden bird feeder.
  • I am not familiar with SE, so got to admit I wasn’t aware there were still tree sparrows clinging on there. In that case, I guess hybrid suggestion might be reasonable.

    Had a very quick flick through photos of hybrids. All the ones I found had more overlapping features than just dark face patch, but hard to tell from photo if there is more. Looking forward to any new photos!

  • In reply to LJB:

    Yet not impossible! Keep on trucking, neighbour. We will spot those elusive critters yet :)