All images by Paul DavisUrban birder Paul Davis sent me this selection of images taken of a weird bird that he could not recognise coming to his feeder in his Mitcham garden in south London.
At first I thought it was some strange escaped weaver species but closer examination, especially of its upperparts, left me thinking that it could be a melanistic male House Sparrow. Melanism is the opposite of albinoism and is rare in House Sparrows. In all my decades of watching them I have never seen a melanistic one, although I have seen albinoism and partial albinos. The grey patch on the crown of the depicted bird is totally consistant with that of a normal male House Sparrow. Furthermore, a search on the net resulted in me finding footage of another similarly plumaged bird on the continent. Paste http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NgENqvdGcY and see what you think.
So, is it a House Sparrow?
Let me know what you think.