(1099) Passer pyrrhonotus.
The Sind Jungle-Sparrow.
Passer pyrrhonotus Blyth. J. A. S.B., xiii, p. 946 (1844) (Sind); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 238.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Male. Upper plumage, wings and tail practically identically the same as in Passer domesticus indicus; the ear-coverts are more grey, the posterior coverts often being quite a dark grey ; the black below is confined to the chin and throat and never extends to the breast; the rest of the lower plumage s pale ashy, purer white on the centre of the abdomen and under tail-coverts.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; " bill in Winter dark brown above, yellow-brown below; bill in Summer black; legs and feet brownish " (Ticehurst).
Measurements. Total length about 125 mm.; wing 65 to 68 mm.; tail 50 to 53 mm.; tarsus about 16 to 17 mm. culmen about 11 mm.
Female. Differs from that of P. d. indicus only in size.
Distribution. Sind and Punjab.
Nidification. The Sind Jungle-Sparrow breeds wherever found, making a large untidy nest o£ tamarisk twigs and grass, densely lined with Feathers and with the entrance near the top. It is placed in tamarisk or other bushes and on the upper branches of Acacias growing in or close to water. The eggs number two to four and are small dull replicas of those of the Common House-Sparrow, very dingy and dark on an average and without any gloss. Thirty eggs average 18.1 X 13.2 mm.: maxima 19.0 x 13.1 and 17.7 x 14.0 mm.; minima 16.2 x 13.3 and 16.5 x 12.9 mm. In Sind it breeds principally in April and May. Currie and A. E. Jones found nests with eggs near Lahore in May, June and August, and Whistler saw nests at Jhang in September. It almost certainly has two broods in the year.
Habits. This little Sparrow is essentially a frequenter of river-banks, lakes and swamps and is never found at any great distance from water. It is not a House-Sparrow and does not haunt buildings unless well surrounded by cover, keeping to Tamarisk-, Acacia- and grass-jungle. It is rather shv, avoiding observation unless that is quietly conducted and retreats into the thick lower grasses and bushes when disturbed. It lives almost entirely on seeds and its note is said to be a low, soft edition or that of the Common House-Sparrow. It is very sociable, generally collecting in flocks from half a dozen or so to some twenty or thirty and even during the breeding-season they keep close together.