Tuesday 7 December 2010

strange Spanish sparrows of Jalu

The most common bird in Jalu is the Spanish sparrow. Their main food for much of the year is clearly dates. In December the date harvest is well over but there are enough old dates hanging on the trees to satisfy the sparrows.

female spanish sparrow in Jalu

However many of the female spanish sparrow looked very strange to me. They have a supercilium in the shape of a full pair of spectacles. I have never seen any like them before!  Many of the juveniles have a similar but less developed feature.

female spanish sparrow eating a date, Jalu

Yet the males look more normal to me. The one below is also eating a date.

male spanish sparrow eating a date

Below is a picture of the profile of a male spanish sparrow. The white supercilium is a little bolder than the average but not that different from the norm.

profile of male spanish sparrow

Desert grey shrike is very common in Jalu.I wonder how many baby sparrows are taken by them for food. I once saw one being flown off to a larder by a desert grey shrike in Tripoli. It was not a happy sight.  

shrike next to sparrow

I don't think the flock of spanish sparrow in Amer's (my host)  garden were too happy with the close attention of this desert grey shrike.

I gave the spanish sparrow much more attention myself than usual because I really was fascinated by the strange head pattern.

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