780. Passer cinnamomeus.
The Cinnamon Tree-Sparrow.
Pyrgita cinnamomea, Gould, P. Z. S. 1835, p. 185. Passer cinnamomeus (Gould), Blyth, Cat. p. 119; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 500 ; Jerd. Ii. I. ii, p. 365; Hume & Senders. Bah. to Yark. p. 252, pl. 25; Hume, N. & E. p. 459; Anders. Yunnan Exped,, Aces, p. 602; Hume, Cat. no. 708; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xii, p. 325; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 275; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 164.
The Cinnamon-headed Sparrow, Jerd.
Coloration. Male. The upper plumage from the forehead to the rump, including the scapulars and lesser wing-coverts, bright cinnamon-rufous, the feathers of the back with the inner web black, wholly or partially, and all the feathers with very narrow pale fringes; upper tail-coverts brown with ashy margins; tail brown with greenish margins; median coverts black, broadly tipped white; greater coverts and tertiaries black, edged with pale rufous ; primaries and secondaries black, edged with pale fulvous, more broadly so at the base and just above the emarginations of the first few primaries; lores and round the eye black; cheeks and ear-coverts pale yellowish white; chin and throat black, fringed with whitish; a large patch on each side of the throat bright yellow; lower plumage greyish yellow, more yellow on the abdomen and under-tail coverts. The difference between the summer and winter plumage of this Sparrow is very slight, the colours in the former season being slightly more intense owing to the narrow fringes wearing away.
Female. The whole upper plumage ruddy brown, tinged with red on the rump and with black and fulvous streaks on the back; lesser wing-coverts ruddy brown; median coverts black, tipped with white; greater coverts, quills, and tail dark brown edged with fulvous; a broad fulvous supercilium, with a broad dusky band below it; sides of the head and neck and the whole lower plumage pale ashy yellow.
Iris reddish brown; legs and feet dark reddish brown; bill pale brown in winter, black in summer.
Length about 5.5 ; tail 2.3; wing 2.9; tarsus .65; bill from gape .55.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Murree to Bhutan up to 7000 feet; the Khasi hills; the Naga hills; Manipur; the hills east of Bhamo; the Karen hills east of Toungngoo.
Habits, &c. Chiefly a jungle-sparrow. Breeds in May and June, constructing its nest in holes of trees as a rule, but sometimes in houses. Eggs, four to six, of the Sparrow type, and measuring about .76 by .57.
Passer assimilis, Walden, A. M. N. H. (4) v, p. 218 (1870), is, I now find after a re-examination of the type, to be referred to P. rutilans, Temm., as already noted by Sharpe (Cat. B. M. xii, p. 827). The type of P. assimilis is said to have been procured at Toungngoo, but there may be probably some mistake about this, as the specimen was not shot by Wardlaw Ramsay or other trustworthy collector. It appears to be a dealer's skin. It is also to be noted that a pair of true P. cinnamomeus were procured by Wardlaw Ramsay on the Karen hills near Toungngoo, and it is unlikely that two distinct but closely allied Sparrows should be found together in Toungngoo and its neighbourhood. Under these circumstances I shall not include P. rutilans among the birds of the Indian Empire. In case, however, it should be met with, the male may be recognized by its similarity to the male of P. cinnamomeus, from which it differs in having the cheeks and ear-coverts pure white and the lower plumage ashy white without a trace of yellow. The females of the two species are undistinguishable from each other. P. rutilans is found in China.