Whilst watching the House Sparrows a few days ago, a particular individual caught my eye as looking a little out of the ordinary. A closer look revealed what was most certainly a male, but with a mottled brown cheeks and bib, quite different to the usual solid black markings.
The ‘odd’ sparrow with a regular house sparrow blurred in the foreground
A typical male house sparrow for comparison
A quick google search revealed nothing and so I sent the images to the BTO’s Unusual Plumage survey who believe it may be a hybrid between our native House Sparrow and a European species, although even they could not be sure!
Other sources have suggested it may have a genetic cause, such as a reduction in melanin which is affecting the usually black feathers and making them appear reddish brown.
If anyone has any further insights I would love to hear from you! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
— All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2017 © http://www.greyfeatherphotography.com
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