Project Noah

Project Noah is a tool to explore and document wildlife and a platform to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere.

Join Project Noah Today

Chestnut-shouldered Petronia

Petronia xanthocollis


The white double wing bar on the shoulder is diagnostic on the otherwise dull grey-brown sparrow. Males have a chestnut shoulder patch which can sometimes be hard to see. They also have a pale yellow spot on the throat in fresh plumage. Females are duller and lack the chestnut shoulder patch. The yellow spot is much reduced or lacking in females. This species is tree-loving although sometimes seen on wires and on the ground, where it has a hopping gait. The species breeds in tree hollows, often making use of the holes made by primary hole-nesting birds such as barbets and woodpeckers. They may also make use of hollows on buildings. The nest is built mainly by the female, but males may sometimes assist. Some populations are migratory, moving in response to rains. They feed mainly on grains but also on insects, nectar and berries. An unusual food item is the petals of flowers such as those of Madhuca indica. When they visit flowers such as those of Capparis, Salmalia, Erythrina and Bassia, their foreheads are covered with pollen. From Wikipedia.


Seen in a cotton field.


This species is said to have introduced Salim Ali (1896–1987) to ornithology. As a young boy he shot a sparrow that looked different, and it was identified for him by W. S. Millard, then secretary of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), who also introduced him to the literature and collections at the museum there. As a result, Salim Ali ultimately took up ornithology as a profession. In 2003 the BNHS published a tribute to him entitled Petronia-Wikipedia.

No species ID suggestions


Wild Things
Wild Things 6 years ago

Thank you Yogesh. I like the part which says that Salim Ali started ornithology due to this bird.

YogeshSave 6 years ago

Best the yellow patch..

Gujarāt, India

Lat: 22.59, Long: 71.48

Spotted on Jan 31, 2012
Submitted on Feb 5, 2012

Related spottings

Rock Sparrow, Gorrión Chillón Rock Sparrow; Gorrión Chillón Yellow-throated Sparrow / Chestnut-shouldered Petronia Rock Sparrow; Gorrión Chillón

Nearby spottings

Rufous-tailed Lark Feral Pigeon White-throated Kingfisher Sand Lark