House Sparrow

The house sparrow (Passer domesticus) is an Old World species that has become established in North America. Native to Eurasia and North Africa, it was introduced to New York City in 1851. By the early 1900’s house sparrows were found throughout the lower 48 states. They are not closely related to New World sparrows.

House sparrows, also known as English sparrows, are closely associated with humans and are found near man-made structures in urban and suburban areas and around farmsteads in the countryside, never around unaltered natural habitats. Permanent residents over most of their range, house sparrows probably affect native species by competing for food and nesting sites.

Breeding male house sparrows have grey crowns, chestnut napes, black bibs, white cheeks and black bills. After molting, the chestnut and black regions are obscured by the grey tips on the new feathers. The bill of a non-breeding male is yellowish. Females and juveniles are mainly tan and grey.

The genus name, Passer, is Latin for “small, active birds” while the species designation, domesticus/”belonging to the house”, refers to the association of house sparrows to humans.

This beautiful male house sparrow was photographed in a greengage plum tree near our Lookout CA house (Modoc County).

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