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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Jouko Lehmuskallio, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

  • Family: Sparrows – Passeridae
  • Appearance: The familiar lively sparrow seen around human settlements of all sizes. Males have grey caps and cheeks and a reddish brown patch behind each eye. Upper parts brownish with prominent black markings. Females more uniformly greyish brown.
  • Size: Length 14–16 cm, weight 29–38 g.
  • Nest: In holes in buildings, nest boxes or sometimes in trees. Made of dry grass, lined with feathers, hair, thread etc.
  • Breeding: 3–7 eggs incubated by both parents for 11–15 days. Fledglings remain in nest for 13–18 days. Breeding period very long, even lasting all year in urban areas, with 2–3 broods raised annually.
  • Distribution: Found near human settlements throughout Finland. Has become less common in recent times. Finnish breeding population estimated at ca. 250,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Sedentary, though some birds may roam short distances, particularly in October and between March and May.
  • Calls: Most typically a chirpy “tsilp-tsilp”, but has a wide range of other calls.
  • Diet: Seeds, invertebrates.
  • Endangerment: Vulnerable, protected in Finland. Globally Least concern.

House Sparrows are small stockily built birds with strong sturdy beaks. Sparrows’ plumage is similar to many bunting species, but can be distinguished by the absence of white edging to the tail. Sparrows’ tails are also shorter than those of buntings. Male House Sparrows have greyish cheeks, a grey cap, a black bib, and a reddish brown patch behind their eyes extending round the back of the neck. Females’ heads do not have these markings, and their only distinctive facial feature is a pale greyish eyebrow stripe. House Sparrows’ upper parts are brown with black markings, and their wings have a narrow white stripe. Their legs are pale brown and their irises are reddish brown. Adults’ beaks are usually dark brown with a yellowish base, though males’ beaks are black during the main breeding season (March–September). Juveniles’ beaks are dark brown with yellow tips.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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