House sparrow

House sparrow
Passer domesticus

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Common name:
house sparrow (en); pardal-doméstico (pt); moineau domestique (fr); gorrión común (es); haussperling (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Passeridae

The house sparrow originates from Eurasia and northern Africa, but has been introduced to most of the world. It is only absent from northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland, central Africa between the Sahara desert and D.R. Congo, western Australia, southern China and south-east Asia and north-eastern Russia. It is also absent from Antarctica.

These birds are 14-17 cm long and have a wingspan of 19-25 cm. They weigh 25-32 g.

The house sparrow is closely associated with human settlements and buildings, from the largest urban areas to human structures in remote rural areas. It can also be found in a wide range of habitats, including arable and irrigated land, pastures, rural gardens, temperate and tropical forests, grasslands, scrublands and wetlands, but always near human dwellings. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 4.500 m.

They mainly eat grains and seeds, including corn, oats, wheat, rice and sorghum, as well as the seeds of wild grasses, but also rely heavily on food discarded by humans and livestock feed. They also hunt some insects, especially when feeding their young.

House sparrow can breed all year round, varying between different parts of their worldwide range. They usually breed in small colonies, each pair nesting in a hole in a building or other human structure, filled with coarse dry vegetation and lined with feather and artificial materials such as paper and string. The female lays 1-10 white, bluish-white, or greenish-white eggs with brown or grey spots, which she mostly incubates alone for 10-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 12-16 days after hatching, only becoming fully independent 2 weeks later. Each pair can raise up to 4 broods per year.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at over 540 million individuals. In Europe the population has declined at a moderate rate in recent decades.

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