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24

House Sparrow

(Passer domesticus)
Size: 14-16 cm; wing span: 21-22.5 cm
Weight: 24-40 g
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See House Sparrow at Wikipedia .

NB: The name of the family of sparrows, "Passer", is used in the definition of passerine vs. non-passerine birds.

Range, habitat

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "hufufae"

ADULT

MALE

BREEDING

Frontal view of a male House Sparrow in breeding plumage; note the extensive black bib and rich-brown supercilium
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, February 2010]

NON-BREEDING

Close-up frontal view of a male House Sparrow in non-breeding plumage feeding on the ground; note the inconspicuous, patchy bib
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, November 2009]

Near-lateral view of a male House Sparrow in non-breeding plumage feeding on the ground
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, November 2009]

Lateral view of a male House Sparrow in non-breeding plumage, which is much less conspicuous, with less contrast than the breeding plumage
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, September 2009]

Male House Sparrow in non-breeding plumage hard on the brakes going downhill
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, November 2009]

Male House Sparrows taking a bath, with a female in the background
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, October 2009]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female House Sparrow feeding on the ground
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, November 2009]

Near-lateral view of a female House Sparrow feeding on the ground
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, November 2009]

Lateral view of a female House Sparrow feeding on the ground, here in different light conditions
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, November 2009]

Group of female House Sparrows in their "bathroom"
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, October 2009]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of a young House Sparrow seeing itself confronted with the harsh reality of living in Arabia - heat and thirst
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, May 2010]

Here a lateral view of a young House Sparrow in the same situation
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, May 2010]

Fledgling House Sparrow checking out what is edible and what is not, while at the same time trying not to fall off the twig
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, September 2009]

Partly obscured view of a fledgling House Sparrow; note the prominent yellow gape
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, February 2010]

Race "domesticus"

House Sparrows, race "domesticus", were photographed by us in Europe.

Race "balearoibericus"

House Sparrows, race "balearoibericus", were photographed in Europe.

Breeding information

Breeding season: Apr - Sep Eggs: 4 - 5 Incubation period: 10 - 14 days Fledging age: 10 - 19 days

The breeding season depends a lot on geographical latitude and climatic conditions. The period listed in the table above applies to central Europe. Also incubation and fledging times depend on external circumstances. Note that House Sparrows are one of only a few bird species that can reach breeding age in the same season they hatched.

Nest building: Male (& female) Incubation: Female (& male) Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

Type: (Domed) basket, hollow Material: Twigs, roots, grass, leaves, feathers Height above ground: 2 - 10(?) m

We have no photo of a nest just yet, but the following attempt by a male to find material for lining its nest.

This male House Sparrow, which is still moulting into full breeding plumage, seems to be sizing up the feather it wants to use

Grabbing it is no problem at all, but in the end air resistance proved too much and the bird let the feather fall again

Eggs

Size: 21 x 15 mm Colour: White, with light-grey speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

House Sparrows are very sociable birds
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, May 2010]

Food, Diet

House Sparrows are omnivores, with a preference for grain and insects. During the breeding season an ample supply of insects is required for feeding the young, but also for the females to build up energy.

These House Sparrows may be feeding on flowers; whether they were taking nectar, petals or insects on the flowers could not be established
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, April 2010]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

passdom_dw_20170119_2.m4a domesticus
(Ctl Poland)
Contact calls © DW
passdom_dw_20170119_1.m4a domesticus
(Ctl Poland)
Contact calls © DW
passdom_20141104.mp3 domesticus Contact calls © MD
passdom_mm_20161217.mp3 domesticus Contact calls © MM
passdom_20140723.mp3 domesticus Contact calls(?) © MD
passdom_20140722.mp3 domesticus Group chatter © MD
passdom_20140722_2.mp3 domesticus Group chatter © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.