Sparrow, Passer domesticus
House Sparrow is distributed around the world having spread
from its original home in the Middle East.
It reached the Pacific coast of Asia in 1929 but earlier, in
1850 it had been introduced to North America,
in 1872 to Argentina and in 1906 to Rio de Janeiro.There is
currently (2003) discussion as to how far it has colonised Central
America - it seems to be widespread near human habitation in
feeds mainly on seeds and household scraps but also on invertebrates
It nests in holes so that human habitation has provided it with
excellent nest sites in buildings.
are black streaks on brown. The male has a black bib and a grey
crown with chestnut sides to the head. Cheeks are pale grey.
The female is much duller and is generally browny-grey below.
In the British
Isles there is much concern at the recent noticeable decline
in House Sparrow numbers.
Sparrow, Passer montanus
Tree Sparrow DE: Feldsperling FR: Moineau friquet ES: Gorrión
Molinero CZ: Vrabec polní DK: Skovspurv
NL: Ringmus FI: Pikkuvarpunen IT: Passera mattugia NO: Pilfink SE:
PT: Pardal-montez TR: Agaç serçesi PL: Mazurek HU:
Mezei veréb SK: Vrabec polný LV: Lauku zvirbulis EE:
Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus, breeds over most of Europe
and Siberia, and allied forms occur in other
parts of Asia. It has been introduced to Australia, and the
United States (where it is known as the Eurasian Tree
Sparrow or German Sparrow to differentiate it from the native,
unrelated American Tree Sparrow).
Changes in farming methods have meant that this species is declining
in some parts of western Europe.
Tree Sparrow is 12.514 cm long. The adult's crown and
nape are rich chestnut, and on the white cheeks
and ear-coverts there is a triangular black patch; the chin
and throat are black.
Two distinct though narrow white bars cross the brown wings.
In summer the bill is lead-blue, and in winter almost black.
The legs are pale brown and the irides hazel. The sexes are
bird is often confused with the larger House
Sparrow, but its rich brown, almost coppery head,
the black patch on its white cheeks, and the double white wing
bar, together with its slighter and more graceful
build, are distinctive.
occasionally nesting in isolated trees, it is a gregarious
bird at all seasons, and a grove of old trees
with a plentiful supply of hollows, or a disused quarry, are
favourite sites for the colony; what it likes is a
hole in which to put its untidy nest, composed of hay, grass,
wool or other material and lined with feathers.
Some of the nests
are not actually in holes in rock, but are built among roots
of overhanging furze or other bushes.
The haunts of man are not always shunned, for old thatch in
a barn or cottage will shelter a colony.
A domed nest, like that of the House Sparrow,
is sometimes built in the old nest of a Magpie
or other bird.
four to six eggs, usually five, are smaller and, as a rule,
browner than those of the House Sparrow.
They vary considerably, and frequently the markings are massed
at one end.
In most clutches one egg is lighter and differs in markings
from the others.