Rufous coloured House Sparrows at Mangonui

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
Weka1
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 8:15 am

Rufous coloured House Sparrows at Mangonui

Postby Weka1 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:41 pm

I observed at least two 'rufous coloured' House Sparrows (my wife's more artistic description was mahogany brown) on the 7th January 2019 at 1400 on the Mangonui, Northland waterfront, just to the south of the fish 'n chippery and wharf. This was not a trick of the light as the birds appeared different to the usual sparrow colouring in both the light, it was a very bright day, and in the shade. We fed them bread and they were observed close up. At least two birds, a male and female, appeared to be this browner colour. The male had a full bib, though it was not as distinctive as normal because it was muted by the colouring. Has anyone else observed this? Is it a local colour morph, a result of diet..or was I really deceived? And no they were not chaffinches.
Jim Kirker
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:54 pm

Re: Rufous coloured House Sparrows at Mangonui

Postby Jim Kirker » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:59 pm

It could be due to melanism, reported in sparrows as a response to industrial air pollution, which must be extremely unlikely in Mangonui.
https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildl ... -of-birds/

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