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Sparrows, Passer.......

House Sparrow, Passer domesticus  
Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus  
Other sparrows-click here

House Sparrow, Passer domesticus  
En. House Sparrow, Da. Gråspurv, Du. Huismus, Fi. Varpunen, Fr. Moineau domestique,
Ge. Haussperling, It. Passera, No. Gråspurv, Sp. Gorrión doméstico, Sw. Gråsparv

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House Sparrow, Passer domesticus
The 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 Costa Rica.

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It feeds mainly on seeds and household scraps but also on invertebrates during breeding.
It nests in holes so that human habitation has provided it with excellent nest sites in buildings.

Photo © Jørgen Scheel

Upperparts 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.

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In the British Isles there is much concern at the recent noticeable decline in House Sparrow numbers.

Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus  
UK: 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: Pilfink
PT: Pardal-montez TR: Agaç serçesi PL: Mazurek HU: Mezei veréb SK: Vrabec polný LV: Lauku zvirbulis EE: Poldvarblane

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Photo © Jørgen Scheel

The 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.

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The Tree Sparrow is 12.5–14 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 practically alike.

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This 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.

© - lubomir hlasek

Though 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.

© Lasse Olsson

The 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.

Text from http://en.wikipedia.org/


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