(1101) Passer montanus montanus.
Fringilla montana Linn., Syst. Nat., 10th ed. i, p. 183 (1758) (North Italy). Passer montanus. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 240.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Lores and under the eye black ; forehead to nape dark maroon-chestnut; back and scapulars chestnut, with the inner webs broadly black next the shaft; rump and upper tail-coverts brown, with a yellowish tinge in quite freshly-moulted birds; tail black, edged with pale reddish-fulvous; lesser wing-coverts dark chestnut; median coverts black, broadly tipped with white; greater coverts black, mostly chestnut on the outer webs and tipped with white; quills black, edged with chestnut, with the usual broader patch at the base of all but the first primary ; a patch of black on the anterior ear-coverts ; sides of head and neck white ; chin and throat black ; rest of lower plumage ashy-white, purest on the abdomen, darkest on the breast and flanks.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill black; legs pale fleshy-brown, the claws black; in the non-breeding season the bill is not so black, especially at the base and on the gonys.
Measurements. Total length about 140 mm.; wing 65 to 73 mm.; tail 51 to 54 mm.; tarsus about 16 to 18 mm.; culmen 9 to 10 mm.
The Nestling is fulvous-brown above, with dark patches on the back and scapulars and no chestnut on the head ; the lower parts, including chin and throat, are pale fulvous.
Distribution. Breeding over practically the whole of Europe and through Northern Asia to East Siberia. In Winter wandering much Farther South and there are two specimens in the British Museum Collection, obtained by Capt. C. H. T. Whitehead at Kohat and Peshawar, which I cannot distinguish from British birds. They were obtained in February and March, 1908.
Nidification. The Tree-Sparrow breeds practically throughout Europe and North-Western Asia. It makes an untidy nest of grass, feathers, wool and other oddments, which it places in holes in trees, walls, banks, thatched roofs, deserted nesting-holes of Sand-Martins, etc. I have taken fresh eggs from early April to late June and many birds must have two broods. The eggs number four to six and are like those of the House-Sparrow but darker, generally less definitely spotted or blotched and with a rather less glossy surface. One hundred eggs average 19.5 x 14.0 mm. (Witherby).
Habits. The Tree-Sparrow is not so exclusively a hanger-on to humanity as is the House-Sparrow and may be found both in woods and open cultivated country far removed from houses. In flight, voice, food etc., however, it closely follows its town cousin.