Friday, February 6, 2015


The Sind sparrow (Passer pyrrhonotus) is a passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found around the Indus valley region inSouth Asia. It is also known as the jungleSind jungle, or rufous-backed sparrow. Very similar to the related house sparrow, it is smaller and has distinguishing plumage features. As in the house sparrow, the male has brighter plumage than female and young birds, including black markings and a grey crown. Distinctively, the male has a chestnut stripe running down its head behind the eye, and the female has a darker head than other sparrow species do. Its main vocalisations are soft chirping calls that are extended into longer songs with other sounds interspersed by breeding males. Historically, this species was thought to be very closely related to the house sparrow, but its closest evolutionary affinities may lie elsewhere. Discovered around 1840, this species went undetected for several decades after its discovery.

The Sind sparrow is very similar to the house sparrow, and both sexes resemble their counterparts of that species, but it is slightly smaller and males and females each have features that distinguish them as Sind sparrows. The Sind sparrow is 13 cm (5.1 in) long, while the common South Asian subspecies of the house sparrow, Passer domesticus indicus, is about 15 cm (5.9 in) long. Wingspans range from 6.2 to 7.0 cm (2.4 to 2.8 in), tails from 4.7 to 5.7 cm (1.9 to 2.2 in), and tarsi measure 1.6–1.9 centimetres (0.63–0.75 in).The male has a short and narrow black bib and a broad chestnut eye stripe that does not meet the mantle. The male has a grey crown and nape and a rufous lower back and rump. The female has a darker and greyer crown and cheek than the female house sparrow and the shoulder is darker chestnut. The female Dead Sea sparrow of the subspecies Passer moabiticus yattii is also similar to the female Sind sparrow, but has yellow tinges on the underparts and sometimes on parts of the head. The bill is black on the breeding male and pale brown on the non-breeding male and female. With a culmen length of 1.1–1.3 centimetres (0.43–0.51 in), the Sind sparrow is slightly smaller-billed than the house sparrow.The Sind sparrow's chirping chup call is softer, less strident, and higher pitched than that of the house sparrow, and is easily distinguished. The song of males includes chirrups interspersed with grating t-r-r-rt notes and short warbles or whistles.
The Sind sparrow has a restricted distribution, primarily occurring within the Indus valley of Pakistan, and the lower parts of the tributaries of the Indus in the Punjab region. The Sind sparrow is somewhat common in its restricted breeding range,and no threats are known to the survival of the species, so it is assessed as least concern on the IUCN Red List.During winter, it often makes short distance movements.

It mostly breeds in acacia and tamarisk scrub and tall grass, invariably near rivers or other wetlands. The construction and expansion of irrigation canals has increased its habitat in Sindh, and helped it extend its range into the Yamuna floodplain and parts of Rajasthan, India. It may breed around rice paddies and other fields, or human habitations, provided that there is enough cover and suitable nesting sites. In winter, it moves away from its main riverine habitat, and into drier thickets characterised by Salvadora and Capparis bushes, but never moves too far from water.
The Sind sparrow is gregarious, generally forming small groups of four to six birds while feeding. It tends to breed in loose colonies of a few pairs, and non-breeding birds may gather to roost in acacias or tamarisks near water. During winter, the non-breeding season, it forms larger flocks of as many as 30 birds, and joins flocks with other seed-eating birds, such as house sparrows and red avadavats. The Sind sparrow feeds mainly on the seeds of grasses and other plants such as Polygonum plebeium. It may also forage for insects such as caterpillars, especially to feed nestlings. Flocks forage on flats alongside rivers, flying into nearby bushes and continuing to forage when disturbed.Nesting occurs during a period of several months between April to September, the timing depending on rainfall, during which two clutches are raised by most pairs. Sind sparrows build nests in the upper branches of thorny trees or the ends of thin branches hanging over water.

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