House sparrow

Passer domesticus taxonomy

Fringilla domestica Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden. 11 subspecies. other common names

English: English sparrow; French: Moineau domestique; German: Haussperling; Spanish: Gorrión Común.

physical characteristics

5.5-6.3 in (14-16 cm); 0.7-1.4 oz (20-40 g). Male has a gray crown bordered by chestnut and a small black bib. Female drab brown. Juvenile similar to female but paler.

distribution

North Africa and Eurasia to limit of cultivation, except for Thailand east to Japan. Through introductions from the mid-nineteenth century onwards is now present throughout most of the inhabited world.

habitat

Almost entirely associated with humans.

behavior

Mainly sedentary, living in small colonies throughout the year.

feeding ecology and diet

Seeds and household scraps. Young reared largely on invertebrates.

reproductive biology

Preferred nest site is a hole in building or tree, though also builds free-standing domed nest in trees. Up to five clutches of two to five eggs per year. Incubation 11-14 days; fledging 14-16 days. Both sexes take part in breeding activities.

conservation status

Major decline in western Europe at end of the twentieth century; but not considered threatened by the IUCN as of 2000.

significance to humans

Generally regarded with affection, but can be a pest of cereal cultivation. ♦

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