Tree Sparrows in Penrith

To: "Mike Simpson" <>
Subject: Tree Sparrows in Penrith
From: "Philip A. Veerman" <>
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 16:53:10 +1100
Hi Mike,
Regarding: "a small flock of Eurasian Tree Sparrows .... about 10 birds in all, all males."
I doubt that they were all males. That would be odd. There is no way of sexing them. Eurasian Tree Sparrows are odd, (I suspect unique), among the many members of the genus Passer, in that not only are the sexes identical in appearance (both in summer and winter phases) but females resemble the typical males of the genus, i.e. both sexes of the Tree Sparrow look like the males (not females) of other species of Passer, in terms of species distinctive head patterns and overall richer colouration than females. It is normal when odd species are sexually monomorphic in a group that is mostly sexually dimorphic, that both sexes resemble the typical female, rather that the typical male (think of Grey Teals as a good example).
When I did my honours year studying social behaviour of these critters (in comparison with House Sparrows), my supervisor wanted me to look inside them after I had finished the relevant observations, to determine what sex each bird was. I ended up not doing that.
-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Simpson <>
To: Birding-Aus (E-mail) <>
Date: Sunday, 18 January 2004 15:52
Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] Tree Sparrows and Spangled Drongo in Penrith

Had a great deal of twittering in the garden in Penrith this morning, and on
investigation there was a small flock of Eurasian Tree Sparrows on our
washing line and in the shrubs, about 10 birds in all, all males. I went to
get my camera, and as usual they all moved off as soon as I opened the door.
I put out some bread crumbs hoping to draw them back, but all I got were the
usual house sparrows and Spotted TurtleDoves.

How common are Tree Sparrows in the Sydney area? I can not remember noticing any here in the past. Their nice brown heads were clearly visible as they were only about 10ft from my window.

Best regards - Mike
Penrith, NSW, Australia
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