Passer indicus Jardine and Selby,

Lecroy, Mary, 2014, Type Specimens Of Birds In The American Museum Of Natural History Part 12. Passeriformes: Ploceidae, Sturnidae, Buphagidae, Oriolidae, Dicruridae, Callaeidae, Grallinidae, Corcoracidae, Artamidae, Cracticidae, Ptilonorhynchidae, Cnemophilidae, Paradisaeidae, And Corvidae, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 2014 (393), pp. 1-165: 6-7

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Passer indicus Jardine and Selby


[ Passer indicus Jardine and Selby  ]

Passer indicus Jardine and Selby, 1831  : pl. 118 and text (Continental India).

Now Passer domesticus indicus Jardine and Selby, 1831  . See Hartert, 1919: 159; Kinnear, 1925: 751; Moreau and Greenway, 1962: 11; Benson, 1999: 9–11, 178–179; Dickinson, 2003: 716; and Summers-Smith, 2009: 793–794.

COMMENTS: In the original description,

Jardine and Selby noted that they had

received a pair of these sparrows from a correspondent who had sent a large assortment of other skins from continental India. They described the male and female as P. indicus  without designating a type. Kinnear (1925: 751–753) reported that the two specimens had been collected by Lieut. J. Atherton, a nephew of Mrs. Selby’s, and that it appeared from correspondence with Selby that he was collecting for him near Bangalore.

Many of the Jardine and Selby types are in UMZC and were deposited there by the trustees of Selby’s estate in 1869 ( Benson, 1999: 11). In his list of Cambridge types, Benson (1999: 178–179) listed two syntypes for Passer indicus  , saying that only no. 11, the female, has the label printed ‘‘Deposited by the Trustees of P.J. Selby,’’ but that no. 8, the male, must have a similar origin. Both are labeled in Selby’s hand and both bear the number 42, which corresponds to Atherton’s list no. 3 for this sparrow.

Of AMNH 718675View Materials, male, from the Rothschild Collection , collected in India, undated, from the Jardine Collection via the Bartlett Collection , Hartert (1919: 159) said the following: ‘‘ The label is marked in Jardine’s handwriting: ‘ Type of plate Orn. Illust.’ The authors had only one pair  ; the female, however, is not in our collection. The late Edward Bartlett bought quite a number of birds from the Jardine Collection, and with the Bartlett Collection of Weaver-birds , Finches and Larks they passed into the Tring [= Rothschild] Museum.’’ 

AMNH 718675 bears a typical Jardine label (see illus. 5 in Benson, 1999: 9). On the front in Jardine’s hand is: ‘‘ Passer domesticus var. indicus  . s, Hab. India.’’ The date is not filled in, but a large ‘‘C’’ is there in ink, with ‘‘Auth. P.J. Selby Orn. Illust..’’ On the reverse: ‘‘No. 5. {illegible} Type of plate Orn. Illust. Jardine Coll.’’ and ‘‘N.’’ The number 6295 appears in red, a reference to its listing in the Jardine sale catalog. ‘‘No. 5,’’ and ‘‘N’’ on the Jardine label are of unknown significance. Bartlett (1888: p. 8 of his text for Passer indicus  ) said: ‘‘The type of Sir W. Jardines P. indicus  in my collection is a young male, just assuming the breeding plumage of early spring.’’ And this was, indeed, the plumage described in the original description by Jardine and Selby, where they said that the feathers of the gorget were ‘‘margined with yellowish-white.’’ The claim that this specimen is the male syntype apparently is based on Jardine’s statement on the label. While such a statement is not in and of itself proof that the specimen is a type, the fact that Jardine was a codescriber and that he obtained the specimen from Selby seems to lend weight to the claim. However, the fact that both of the Cambridge specimens bear the number ‘‘42’’ of Atherton’s list seems to me to show that they are indeed the syntypes. I much appreciate the photographs of the labels on these birds sent me by M. Brooke, UMZC.

Benson (1999: 179) thought that the specimen claimed by Hartert to be the type of indicus  should bear the Jardine red sale catalog number ‘‘6300c.’’ As noted above, the number is ‘‘6295’’; AMNH 718682View Materials bears the Jardine sale number ‘‘6300o’’ (not ‘‘6300c’’), but this specimen from the Bartlett Collection was procured by E. Blyth in India in 1850, long after the description of indicus  . Two other Jardine/Bartlett specimens of this species are in the Rothschild Collection: AMNH 718676View Materials, red no. ‘‘6293g’’ and AMNH 718677View Materials without a sale number. Neither specimen carries any reference relevant to type status  .

The type locality was restricted to Bangalore by Kinnear (1925: 751), who doubted that the specimen in the Rothschild Collection was the type. He said that the specimen did not match the illustration, without giving details of why the two did not agree. The AMNH specimen is in poor condition and quite soiled, and most of the differences can be explained by the condition of the specimen and by the vagaries of hand coloring. The colored plate, however, does not show the whitish tips on the black feathers of the gorget even though these are mentioned in the verbal description. But both the AMNH specimen and the UMZC male show these white tips. The AMNH copy of Jardine and Selby bears both colored and uncolored states of plate 118. The white tips only show on the uncolored one, suggesting that vagaries in hand coloring can explain Kinnear’s statement.

Because AMNH 718675 bears a Rothschild type label, it is retained in the type collection with a label explaining that it apparently is not a type. See Zimmer (1926: 323) for the date of publication of volume 3, part 8 of Illustrations of Ornithology, containing plate 118.














Passer indicus Jardine and Selby

Lecroy, Mary 2014

Passer domesticus indicus

Summers-Smith, J. D. 2009: 793
Dickinson, E. C. 2003: 716
Benson, C. W. 1999: 9
Moreau, R. E. & J. C. Greenway, Jr. 1962: 11
Kinnear, N. B. 1925: 751
Hartert, E. 1919: 159