Rock sparrow

Rock sparrow
Petronia petronia
Photo by Ray Wilson (Ray Wilson’s Bird & Wildlife Photography)

Common name:
rock sparrow (en); pardal francês (pt); moineau soulcie (fr)gorrión chillón (es); steinsperling (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Passeridae

The rock sparrow is found around the Mediterranean, in southern Europe and northern Africa, and eastwards through the Middle East and the Caucasus, through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and into northern China and Mongolia.

These birds are 14-17 cm long and have a wingspan of 16-17 cm. They weigh 26-39 g.

Rock sparrows are found in rocky areas, dry grasslands and woodlands and rural gardens.

They mainly feed on seeds, berries and fruits, but during summer these are complemented with insects, especially grasshoppers and caterpillars.

Rock sparrows breed in April-July. They nest in is a hole or cavity in rocks, earth bank, tree, building or other structure, commonly in old, or sometimes usurped nests of other species, particularly bee-eaters but also nuthatches, swallows and martins, and even in rodent burrows. There the female lays 4-8 white eggs with brown or blackish spots. The eggs are incubated by the female for 11-15 days, while the male provides her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 16-22 days after hatching. Each pair may raise 2 clutches per year.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 20-220 million individuals. In Europe, the population is increasing moderately, but the trend in Africa and Asia is unknown.

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