779. Passer montanus.
Fringilla montana, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 324 (1766). Passer montanus (Linn.), Blyth, Cat. p. 120; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 500; Jerd. B. 1. ii, p. 366 ; Hume, N. & E. p. 460; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aces, p. 601; Hume, Cat. no. 710; Oates, B. B. i, p. 348; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xii, p. 301; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 162.
The Mountain Sparrow, Jerd.
Coloration. Male and female. The whole head from forehead to nape vinous chestnut; lores, feathers under the eye, and a patch under the ear-coverts and encroaching upon them black; with this exception the sides of the face and neck are white ; chin and throat black; lower plumage ashy, whitish on the abdomen and tinged with fulvous on the sides of the breast, flanks, and under tail-coverts; back and scapulars pale chestnut, with the inner webs of the feathers chiefly black ; rump and upper tail-coverts yellowish brown ; tail brown, edged with fulvous ; lesser wing-coverts chestnut; median coverts black, broadly tipped with white; greater coverts blackish, edged with pale chestnut and tipped with whitish; quills dark brown edged with rufous.
Bill black; iris brown ; legs flesh-colour; claws brown.
Length 5.6 ; tail 2.3 ; wing 2.7 ; tarsus .7 ; bill from gape .55.
This species throughout its vast range remains very constant in coloration. A slight exception occurs, however, in birds from Yarkand and Central Asia, where the lower plumage of this Sparrow becomes white.
Distribution. The whole of the Himalayas from Afghanistan to Assam up to 7000 feet in summer, descending to lower levels in winter; the whole of the countries from Assam southwards to the extreme southern point of Tenasserim. In the British Museum there is a skin of this Sparrow said to have been procured in the Deccan by Sykes, but probably erroneously, as Horsfield and Moore do not record the specimen in their Catalogue and the locality is quite outside the range of this bird.
The Tree-Sparrow has a wide range over Europe, Africa, and Asia, extending south to Java.
Habits, &c, The Tree-Sparrow nests in the east chiefly in holes about houses and other buildings, but in Europe it nests generally in trees. The nest is constructed of all sorts of materials and is a shapeless mass, suited roughly to the cavity it occupies. The eggs resemble those of the House-Sparrow and measure about .73 by .54. The nest may be found at most times of the year, but more commonly from February to May.