House Sparrow Birds (Passer domesticus)

house sparrow birds

House sparrow birds, also known as Passer domesticus, and often abbreviated as HOSP, is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world. A small bird, it has a typical length of 16 cm (6 in) and typically weighs around 24 g (0.85 oz).

It is brown-backed with streaks on its head and a light belly. Females and young birds are colored less intensely than males. The beak color is black in summer but mostly yellow in winter.

Passer domesticus is one of the most common birds on earth, with more than 100 million specimens worldwide. Originally found throughout Asia and Europe, this little bird was brought over to North America in 1852 in an attempt to establish its population here.

Today, you can find it in almost every region of the United States and Canada!
The house sparrow is a small passerine bird. It has also been introduced to various locations worldwide, making it the most widely distributed wild bird species.

Description

The house sparrow is a small, brown, and gray bird. The adult male has a black bib with white sides on its chest. The female and juvenile are similar in appearance to the male but without the black bib. These birds are found in urban and rural areas throughout the world.

They typically build their nests in trees, bushes, or on ledges. House sparrows eat a variety of foods, including seeds, insects, and other small invertebrates. When available, they also consume grains such as wheat, barley, and corn.

A major pest for farmers worldwide, these birds have been considered pests for over 100 years because they will often damage crops. In the United States alone it is estimated that each year between 1 billion and 5 billion dollars in crop production are lost to these pesky little birds!

House sparrow male

The house sparrow male bird is a small, stocky bird with a short tail and stout bill. They have gray-brown upper parts and white underparts with black streaks on the breast. They also have brown caps and shoulders, an orange-red patch of feathers just above the eye called a spectacle and rusty brown wings with two black bars.

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House sparrow female

house sparrow birds

House sparrow female birds are slightly smaller than males and are similar in appearance but without the spectacle or rust patches on wings. House sparrows make nests using straws, string, or wool to weave together materials into a cup shape lined with soft material such as hair or feathers.

They are similar in coloration, but usually with less distinct markings. These birds are found in urban and agricultural areas throughout much of the world. House sparrows typically nest in holes in buildings or other structures, or in natural cavities.

House sparrow scientific name

The scientific name of the house sparrow is Passer domesticus

Habitat & Distribution

The house sparrow is a bird of the Old World, nesting throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It has also been introduced to many other parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Americas. House sparrows typically nest in human-made structures, such as houses, barns, and birdhouses.

They will also nest in natural cavities, such as tree stumps and rock crevices. In urban areas, there are more possible nesting sites than in rural ones. In London for example, there may be up to 50 potential sites within 10 meters from any given point. Nests can be found on window ledges or behind shutters on buildings that are at least five stories high.

When populations are dense enough, birds will sometimes nest inside chimneys or air vents, although this isn’t their preferred location for building nests.

The bird has a fairly large range, encompassing most of Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa and Oceania. The species has adapted to urban areas, making it very common in cities throughout much of the world. In some places, this bird is even considered an invasive species as it outcompetes native birds for resources such as food and nesting sites.

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Size and weight

The house sparrow is a small bird, about the size of a robin. The males are larger than the females and can weigh up to 24 – 40 grams. The wingspan is between 16 and 18 cm.

Plumage

The house sparrow is a small, stocky bird with a brown back and grayish-brown underparts. The wings are brown with black stripes, and the tail is black with white edges.

The male has a gray crown and nape, and the female has a brown crown and nape. Immature birds are similar to adults but have streaked plumage.

Molts

The house sparrow molts (loses and replaces feathers) four times a year. The first molt, which occurs between January and March, is a partial molt. The second molt, between May and June, is a complete molt in which all the feathers are replaced.

The third molt, between August and September, is another partial molt. The fourth and final molt, between November and December, is again a complete molt. They also have a pre-basic molt that starts in April or May before they start their first full molt.

Young house sparrows usually take around three months to replace their juvenile plumage with adult plumage. Male and female adults of the same age will have different colored plumages until they reach sexual maturity at around one year old.

House sparrow nest

house sparrow birds

The house sparrow nests in cavities, often using old woodpecker holes. The female builds the nest, which is made of grass, straw, and other plant material, lined with feathers. The nest is usually built in a tree or shrub, but may also be built in a man-made structure such as a building.

The female lays 3-7 eggs, which are incubated for 12-14 days. Both parents help care for the young, which fledge at about 18 days old. The male may provide food to the female while she incubates. House sparrows typically have one brood per year but may produce up to three broods if conditions are favorable.

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Diet and foraging

The house sparrow is a seed-eating bird, with about 80% of its diet being seeds. The rest of the diet consists of insects, mostly in the form of caterpillars. Foraging is done mostly on the ground, although the bird will also forage in trees and bushes. House sparrows will also visit bird feeders.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

The house sparrow is a noisy bird, with a wide variety of vocalizations. The most commonly heard call is a loud, monotonous ‘chirp-chirp-chirp’, often given in long series. Alarm calls include a sharp ‘chip’ note and a rattling trill. This species also produces soft contact calls, songs, and wing whirrs.

The house sparrow is one of the few bird species that has been documented to use tools.

Breeding

The breeding season for house sparrows is typically March through August. The female will build a nest out of the grass, twigs, and other materials, and line it with feathers. She will lay 3-7 eggs, which will hatch in about two weeks. Both parents help care for the young birds.

House sparrows are generally monogamous; however, they may have more than one mate during their lifetime. Males provide food to females when they are incubating their eggs or feeding their young.

He builds the nest and gathers nesting material, defends his territory from intruders, feeds her while she incubates her eggs, guards the nests against predators and parasites, broods over the chicks until they fledge from the nest, then helps feed them after that.

Females also defend their territories from intruders and share nesting duties as well as food gathering duties.

House sparrow lifespan

The house sparrow has a lifespan of about 2 to 3 years in the wild. However, in captivity, they have been known to live up to 7 years.

Movements and migration

house sparrow birds

The house sparrow is a non-migratory bird, meaning it does not travel long distances to find a new home. However, it may move short distances to find a mate or a suitable nesting site.

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The male house sparrow is also known to be quite territorial, and will sometimes chase other males away from his territory. When the weather gets cold, they will often congregate in large flocks with other birds of their kind.

Population status

The house sparrow is the most common bird in the world, with a population of more than 1.5 billion. It is found in nearly every country on Earth, and its range is expanding. The bird is most often found in urban areas, where it can nest and find food more easily than in rural areas.

Their numbers have declined sharply in recent years, due largely to habitat loss and fragmentation. There are now fewer places for these birds to live or breed successfully. Humans also spread diseases like avian flu, which has decimated populations in some countries.

Conservation and management

The house sparrow is a common bird that can be found in many parts of the world. Although its numbers have declined in recent years, it is still considered to be of the least concern by the IUCN. However, conservation and management efforts are still needed in order to ensure the long-term survival of this species.

It was once a common bird in North America, but by the early 20th century, its numbers had declined dramatically. Thanks to conservation efforts, the house sparrow has made a comeback and is now one of the most abundant birds in the world.