Sparrows are predominantly birds of open country with scattered trees, extending into the semi-desert and high, arid steppes of Asia (the snow finches and ground sparrows) and light woodland (the African rock sparrows that merit more the epithet bush than rock sparrow). The most significant feature, particularly in the true sparrows, is a close association with humans. Originally through feeding in cultivated areas and then moving into built-up areas, no fewer than 17 of the 26 species of true sparrows nest in holes in occupied buildings. The house and tree sparrows are the supreme examples with some individuals spending most of their time in buildings and the house sparrows even living and breeding in a coal mine in England, 2,100 ft (640 m) below ground level.

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