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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Sparrows/Ploceidae

Rock Sparrow/Petronia petronia - Adult

L 15-17 cm. Breeds in various habitats with bare surfaces: rock faces in alps, ravines, wadis, quarries, rocky desert tracts, open terrain with walls, ruins and even occupied buildings, locally also alpine meadows with boulders, cultivations. Resident. Social, can be seen in large flocks in non-breeding season. Nests in cavity in rocks or in crevice.
IDENTIFICATION: Rather big and very stocky, with broad head and hefty bill. Markings typically heavy and stripy, with patterned wing and broad pale supercilium between dark crown-side and dark eye-stripe. Greater part of whitish underparts heavily and openly streaked brownish-grey (look rather dark at distance). A yellow spot where throat meets breast (though often hard to see when bird perched in hunched-up posture). Tail dark with large white terminal patches on outer feathers, seen best in flight. Undertail-coverts dark with broad pale fringes. Sexes alike.
VOICE: Voluble. Call a short nasal ‘vüi’. In anxiety, a hard trilling ‘tiitür’r’r’r’r’. Most typical is a loud, drawn-out call in glissando, repeated and varied as song, ‘sle-veeit’ or ‘tveyuitt’; sounds slightly nasal, creaky and ‘seductive’ in tone; occasionally shorter ‘tvüit’ heard.

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