Java sparrow

Java sparrow
Padda oryzivora

Photo by Kim Bridges (Wikipedia)

Common name:
Java sparrow (en); pardal-de-Java (pt); padda de Java (fr); gorrión de Java (es); reisfink (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Estrildidae

This species was originaly endemic to the islands of Java, Bali, and probably Madura, in Indonesia. It is a common cage bird and feral populations have been established in many parts of the world.

These birds are 14-19 cm long and weigh 30-40 g.

In their native range, Java sparrows are found in dry savannas, scrublands and grasslands, as well as in rural gardens, arable land, rice paddies and within urban areas. They are mostly present from sea level up to an altitude of 500 m.

They mostly eat the seeds of grasses and other flowering plant, namely rice seeds, but also some insects.

Java sparrows breed in February-August within their native range. The nest is a loosely built structure of dried grass, constructed under the roofs and eaves of buildings in towns and villages, or in scrubs and treetops. The female lays 4-8 white eggs, which are incubated for 12-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 2-3 weeks after hatching.

IUCN status – VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a relatively large native range, but the native population is estimated at just 1.500-7.000 individuals. There are larger introduced populations elsewhere, for instance in China or Japan. The native population is declining at a rapid rate, mostly due to the high trapping pressure for the cage bird trade. Historically, it was regarded as a rice crop-pest, and consequently persecuted, while hunting for local consumption still takes place. Other potential threats include the increased use of pesticides and competition with the ecologically similar tree sparrow Passer montanus.

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