Fringilla rutilans Temm., PL Col., iii, p. 488 (1829). Type-locality: Japan.
Differs from all Indian forms in having practically no yellow on the cheeks and under plumage.
The division of Passer rutilans into geographical races is one which has been discussed at some length but it appears to me that P. r. rutilans, P. r. intensior P. r. cinnamomeus and P. r. debilis can all be maintained. These races follow exactly the same lines as those followed by other species divided into geographical races over a similar immense area. In Yunnan and the surrounding countries we have a much deeper-coloured bird with very little yellow showing on the under plumage; working East we obtain a paler bird, again more like the typical form except for the yellow under plumage rand, finally, in the extreme North-West area we get a still paler form. The great individual variation owing to abrasion and bleaching renders comparison difficult and if such is undertaken, birds killed at the same time of the year must be selected.
Key to Subspecies
A. Lighter above and below and suffused with yellow when in full plumage.
a. Slightly darker, especially on chest-nut parts…………P.r. cinnamomeus, p. 180.
b. Slightly paler, especially on chestnut parts…………P.r. debits, p. 181.
B. Darker both above and below; not much suffused with yellow…………P.r. intensior, p. 182.