Monday, 3 November 2014

Fox Sparrow intergrades

Fox Sparrow intergrade ('Red Fox Sparrow' x 'Sooty Fox Sparrow'), Port Townsend, Jefferson County (Washington, USA), 28th October 2011 - copyright Steve Mlodinow
(photo ID: 1367)


The group of Fox Sparrow taxa known collectively as 'Red Fox Sparrow' and the group known as 'Sooty Fox Sparrow' are sometimes treated as distinct species, although they are not currently recognised as such by the main authorities.  Steve informs us that the two groups' breeding ranges meet in Alaska and cross-breeding is known to occur (and is under-appreciated).  He goes on to say about this bird:
"The flank streaking is not quite confluent, as typical of Sooty Fox Sparrows, but is denser than normal for Red.  The head pattern is rather like that of a subdued Red Fox Sparrow, however the back streaking of Red Fox Sparrows is only hinted at.  The tertial edging is atypical for either race."



 Fox Sparrow intergrade ('Red Fox Sparrow' x 'Sooty Fox Sparrow') (same bird as in photo ID 1367 above), Port Townsend, Jefferson County (Washington, USA), 28th October 2011 - copyright Steve Mlodinow
(photo IDs: 1368-1370)


Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca
'Red Fox Sparrow' Passerella iliaca iliaca-group
'Sotty Fox Sparrow' Passerella iliaca unalaschensis-group

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