Passer simplex (Licht.), Verz. Doubl, p. 24 (1823) ; Temm. pl. col. iii pl. 358 ; Dresser, iii. p. 603, pl. 179 : Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xii. p. 339 ; Koenig, J.f.O. 1896, p. 120. tab. vii. fig. 10 (eggs). ad. (N. Africa). Upper parts isabelline grey, the crown greyer ; quills brownish grey, towards the ends blackish and tipped with creamy white ; secondaries isabelline on the outer web ; lesser wing-coverts white ; larger coverts blackish, broadly tipped with isabelline ; upper tail-coverts creamy white ; tail sooty brown, darker towards the tip, and externally margined with isabelline ; lores and upper throat black ; sides of the neck white ; rest of under parts pale, creamy white ; bill black ; legs dull yellowish horn ; iris dark brown. Culmen 0.4, wing 3.1, tail 2.5, tarsus 0.85 inch. The female lacks the black on the lores and throat, and is more isabelline in tinge, not grey. In winter the male has the bill whitish at the base, but otherwise brown.
Hab. Southern Algeria, southern Nubia, N. Kordofan. and Senaar, and the desert between Suakin and Berber.
In habits it resembles the Tree-sparrow, though it does not frequent trees, but is found in the sand desert along the caravan-roads, and wherever there are wells, and feeds on seeds and insects of various kinds. Its nest, which is placed on the timbers, or in a hole in the wall of a well, is bulky, but firmly constructed of halfa-stems, dry grass, wool, rags, and feathers, and the eggs, 3 in number, are usually deposited in April and closely resemble those of Passer montanus.
431. Passer simplex