Garden birds Sparrows and Dunnock

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Tree sparrow
Tree Sparrow Passer montanus

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus

The Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus, is a passerine bird in the sparrow family with a rich chestnut crown and nape, and a black patch on each pure white cheek. The sexes are similarly plumaged, and young birds are a duller version of the adult. This sparrow breeds over most of temperate Eurasia and Southeast Asia, where it is known as the Tree Sparrow, and it has been introduced elsewhere including the United States, where it is known as the Eurasian Tree Sparrow or German Sparrow to differentiate it from the native unrelated American Tree Sparrow. Although several subspecies are recognised, the appearance of this bird varies little across its extensive range.
The Eurasian Tree Sparrow is 12.5–14 cm (5–5½ in) long, with a wingspan of about 21 cm (8.25 in) and a weight of 24 g (0.86 oz), making it roughly 10% smaller than the House Sparrow (below). The adult's crown and nape are rich chestnut, and there is a kidney-shaped black ear patch on each pure white cheek; the chin, throat, and the area between the bill and throat are black. The upperparts are light brown, streaked with black, and the brown wings have two distinct narrow white bars. The legs are pale brown, and the bill is lead-blue in summer, becoming almost black in winter.Wikipedia

Full description,sound and photographs in our online guide here....

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a species of passerine bird in the sparrow family Passeridae. It occurs naturally in most of Europe, the Mediterranean region, and much of Asia. It has also followed humans all over the world and has been intentionally or accidentally introduced to most of the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, New Zealand and Australia as well as urban areas in other parts of the world. It is now the most widely distributed wild bird on the planet. It is strongly associated with human habitations, but it is not the only sparrow species found near houses. In the United States it is also colloquially known as the English Sparrow to distinguish it from American sparrows.
The House Sparrow is a chunky bird, ranging from 14–18 centimetres (5.5–7.1 in) in length, and from 24–39.5 grams (0.85–1.4 oz) in mass, depending on sex, subspecies, and environment. Females average smaller than males, and southern birds are smaller than their northern counterparts, though altitude may be equally important.

Like most of the members of its genus, the House Sparrow is sexually dimorphic. The male's mantle and upper back are a warm brown, broadly streaked with black, while the lower back, rump and uppertail coverts are a greyish-brown. The crown, cheeks and underparts are pale grey, with black on the throat, upper breast and between the bill and eyes. The bill in summer is blue-black, and the legs are brown. In winter the plumage is dulled by pale edgings, and the bill is yellowish brown.The black throat patch on the males is variable in size, and the size of that patch or badge may be correlated with the aggressiveness, suggesting that it is a signal to show dominance in a social situation.The female has no black on head or throat, nor a grey crown; her upperparts are streaked with brown. The juveniles are deeper brown, and the white is replaced by buff; the beak is pink to dull yellow. The House Sparrow's range overlaps extensively with that of the smaller and more slender Eurasian Tree Sparrow (above), which has a chestnut and not grey crown, two distinct wing bars, and a black patch on each cheek.Wikipedia

Full description,sound and photographs in our online guide here....

Dunnock Prunella modularis

Dunnock Prunella modularis

The Dunnock, Prunella modularis, is a small passerine bird found throughout temperate Europe and into Asia. It is by far the most widespread member of the accentor family, which otherwise consists of mountain species. It is sometimes called the Hedge Accentor or Hedge Sparrow.
It is a bird of woodland, shrub and gardens. It builds a neat nest low in a bush or conifer, laying 3-5 unspotted blue eggs.
It is often a host to the Common Cuckoo. It is likely that this association is recent, since other Cuckoo hosts have learned to discriminate between eggs, and the Cuckoo has consequently evolved eggs that match those of its host. In the case of the Dunnock, there is no resemblance, yet the Cuckoo eggs are accepted.
This is a Robin-sized bird, 13.5–14 cm in length, fairly drab in appearance, and somewhat resembling a small House Sparrow with its streaked back and general shape. It is also brownish underneath, and has a fine pointed bill. Adults have a grey head. The sexes are similarly coloured. They were introduced to New Zealand between 1867 and 1882 and now breed throughout the country including on the Chatham, Antipodes, Auckland and Campbell islands.

This species makes up for its drab appearance with its breeding behaviour. Females are often polyandrous, breeding with two males at once, and thus giving rise to sperm competition. Males compete for mating access to the female, but DNA fingerprinting has shown that chicks within broods often have different fathers, depending on their success at monopolising access to the fertile female. Males try to ensure their paternity during courtship by pecking at the cloaca of the female to stimulate her to eject the sperm of other males with whom the female has recently mated. Males provide parental care in proportion to their mating success, so it is not uncommon to see two males and a female provisioning nestlings at one nest. Polyandry is rare in birds, with only about 2% of species showing such a mating system; the majority are monogamous, where one male and one female breed together.
The song is thin and tinkling, a sweet warble which can be confused with the Wren. However the Wren's song incorporates repeated trill sounds and the Dunnock's does not. While the bubbling song of a Dunnock is very pleasant, it has been described as being similar to a squeaky trolley wheel.
The main call is a shrill, persistent "tseep", which often betrays its otherwise inconspicuous presence.Wikipedia

Full description,sound and photographs in our online guide here....

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