Old World Sparrows (Passeridae)

Saxaul Sparrow (Passer ammodendri) - HBW 14, p. 793

French: Moineau des saxaouls German: Saxaulsperling Spanish: Gorrión del Saxaul

Taxonomy: Passer ammodendri Gould, 1872, Turkestan = Djulek, above Kyzyl Orda, on the Syr Darya, Kazakhstan.
This species suggested as having evolved from an isolated population of sparrows in a steppe region in C Asia that remained unglaciated (25,000-15,000 years ago). Currently occurs in six allopatric populations, relationships among which, and the degree to which they are sufficiently distinctive to justify subspecific separation, are subject to debate. Additional proposed races are korejewi (described from E Transcaspia), included within nominate, and timidus (from Gobi Desert), subsumed into stoliczkae. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • ammodendri Gould, 1872 - S Kazakhstan and N Uzbekistan (Kyzylkum Desert); Turkmenistan (Karakum Desert); possibly NE Iran.
  • nigricans Stepanyan, 1961 - SE Kazakhstan (Sary-Ishikotrau Desert), NW China (N Xinjiang) and extreme SW Mongolia.
  • stoliczkae Hume, 1874 - China from S Xinjiang (Kashgar and Taklimakan Desert) E to W Inner Mongolia and N Ningxia (Ordos Desert); SC Mongolia (Gobi Desert).