"Italian" and Tree Sparrows again

To: "Mark Clayton" <>
Subject: "Italian" and Tree Sparrows again
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2006 14:09:41 +1100
Hi Mark,
All true points. I referred to the Italian House Sparrow as a subspecies: Passer domesticus italiae or P. hispaniolensis x italiae, thereby including the possibility of them as a hybrid form. I think it is just one of those taxonomic vague in betweens. These odd birds seen would most likely be an independent variation from the wild birds, that exhibits the same plumage features, whether by the same or a different genetic method who knows. The paper by Nicola Clark is good but does not contain much that you (Mark) wouldn't know. It highlighted the other differences as to why it wasn't a Tree Sparrow, mainly in that the Tree Sparrow has two white wing bars and the House Sparrow has one. Also the Tree Sparrow's overall colouring is a much richer chestnut than any male House Sparrow.
As for the Tree Sparrow arriving in Australia naturally, well maybe and with ship assistance more likely, but it hasn't happened yet, they don't fly very well. Among the obvious field visible differences between the two species, at least among the many I measured, the Tree Sparrow's primaries are shorter than the House Sparrow's primaries. What is an obvious field visible difference, is not the length itself but the shape, the Tree Sparrow's wings are much rounder, giving them a quite different appearance at a distance.
I studied the two species full time for nearly a year as part of my honours thesis.
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