two Spanish Sparrows, one male and one female, enjoyed a small puddle
of water on the edge of a field created by the farmer’s leaking
hosepipe. They were soon joined by other sparrows to cool in the
heat of the afternoon sun.
The Spanish Sparrow is distributed
around the Mediterranean. They are 14-16cm long and closely related
to the familiar House Sparrow. They will interbreed with species
to produce hybrids such as the Italian Sparrow of northern Italy,
which show characteristics of both species
Mainly resident in the west of its
range, but eastern populations of this passerine are more migratory.
Odd birds have wandered as far as Scotland.
Although, like its relative, they are
found near habitation and usulay breed in trees near rivers or other
wet areas. They build a closed nest, and sometimes nest inside large
nests of birds like the White Stork. 4-8 eggs are laid.
The male is similar to the House Sparrow,
but has a chestnut cap, blacker back, and underparts heavily streaked
with black. The female is effectively inseparable from its relative.
Like other sparrows this species feeds principally on seeds.