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Waterloo, IA, United States
in low light the sparrow looks black, the photo shows more detail then looking at it with naked eye. The sparrow showed up at the feeder mixed in with 50 other sparrows
Dark House Sparrow
In searching for information on another dark bird we observed at home, I came across this information published in 1880 on a black phase of English sparrow. I thought it would be interesting trivia to go along with these photos.
ADDITIONAL CASES OF ALBINISM AND MELANISM IN NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS on JSTOR
Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club
Vol. 5, No. 1 (JANUARY, 1880), pp. 25-30 (6 pages)
ADDITIONAL CASES OF ALBANISM AND MELANISM IN NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS
By Ruthven Dean
1. Passer domestica. ENGLISH SPARROW. – In Naumann’s work (Vol. IV, p. 458), he says, “Finally there is still a black variety, Fringilla domestica nigra, which is wholly coal-black or brownish-black.” Three specimens of this dark phase are in the Museum at Munich, Germany (Merrill).
Hey Tom, I believe that this House Sparrow has a condition known as melanism. Melanism is an increase of black pigments in an animal’s body, resulting in the animal looking darker than normal. He sure is a beauty!
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