Old World Sparrows (Passeridae)

Russet Sparrow (Passer rutilans) - HBW 14, p. 796

French: Moineau rutilant German: Rötelsperling Spanish: Gorrión Rutilante
Other common names: Cinnamon (Tree) Sparrow, Ruddy Sparrow

Taxonomy: Fringilla rutilans Temminck, 1836, Japan.
This species probably evolved from an isolated sparrow population that was trapped in an ice-free refugium in Yangtze Valley during the last Pleistocene glaciation (25,000-15,000 years ago). Has been considered to form a superspecies with P. castanopterus, and sometimes treated as conspecific; similarities in plumage and morphology between the two likely a matter of convergence, rather than close relationship. Proposed race batangensis (described from W Batang area of Sichuan, in China) considered synonymous with intensior. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • cinnamomeus ( Gould, 1836) - NE Afghanistan E in Himalayas (mostly above 1800 m) to S China (S & SE Xizang and S Qinghai) and NE India (Arunchal Pradesh).
  • intensior Rothschild, 1922 - NE India (Assam), SC & S China, and N Myanmar E to N Laos and NW Vietnam.
  • rutilans ( Temminck, 1836) - NC & E China, Korea, Taiwan, S Sakhalin I, S Kuril Is and Japan.