House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) male

Also called the ‘English Sparrow’, the male of the species has quite bold markings, with a reddish-brown back plumage, grey cap with reddish sides, a black bib and unmarked grey underside. It also has a distinctive white wingbar. Both sexes have a thick black bill and a pale whitish eye stripe. The female is not so bold, and is generally brownish in colouration. The juvenile has plainer plumage. Similar to the Tree Sparrow and the Dunnock (Prunella modularis). Length 14cm.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) male

It feeds on buds, berries, and many insects. Visits bird tables for nuts, seeds, and various titbits. The nest is made of grass and feathers built-in roof spaces, wall cavities, or in bushes and leafy vines. The female lays 3 to 7 eggs in 3 to 4 broods from April to August. They can live for up to 5 years.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) male

Seen all year round. It thrives in villages and towns, and farms, not far from human habitation, and has lived closely alongside people since the Stone Age. The House Sparrow is a cause for concern, for over the past 25 years their numbers have declined by 50 percent in rural England, and up to 62 per cent in towns and cities. Nobody is entirely sure as to this rapid decline in numbers, but it is thought that changes in agriculture practices in rural areas maybe a cause, and lesser green space in urban areas another. It is on the RSPB Red List.

Photographs of House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), taken April 2013, Llandudno, Wales. © Pete Hillman 2013. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

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