BIRD OF THE WEEK / WEEK 29: July 16, 2018

 

© Liron Gertsman

Bird

House Sparrow

Species Name

Passer domesticus

Appearance

14-18 cm length | 19-25 cm wingspan | 24-30 gm weight

A small, compact songbird with a large, round head, short wings, a short neck, short legs and a short, strong, conical-shaped bill. Males are larger during the winter and females are larger during the breeding season.

The male is mostly grey with patterned brown, black and grey wings and a brown-grey lower back, tail and rump. They have a dark grey crown, a chestnut area behind the eye and white cheeks. They have a black chin and throat and a small black eye mask with a single white dot behind each eye. The bill and eyes are black. In non-breeding plumage the male becomes much duller. The female is significantly duller year-round, in less contrasting shades of brown and much less patterning. She has a light grey-brown underside, streaked buff and brown wings and back and a pale supercilium. Juveniles are similar to the adult female.

Habitat / Behaviour

Granivore | Urban, parks | Lives approx 9 years

The House Sparrow can be found on every continent, except Antarctica, and is the most widely distributed of any wild bird. It chooses habitats in rural and urban areas or more generally, within close proximity of human populations.

These birds are largely granivorous, foraging on the ground for the seeds of grain and weeds, however they will also take some insects and other foods especially during breeding season. They are common at bird feeders and the patios of restaurants and cafes. The house sparrow requires consumption of some grit to aid in digestion, and eats bits of egg shell, mollusc shell, masonry or rough grains for this purpose.

Breeding

Monogamous for life | Nests in cavity or crevice | 4-5 Whitish eggs with brown spots | 1-4 broods

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