Belongs to: sparrows

Compare with: tree sparrow

House sparrow Passer domesticus

BoCC Red list

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Most familar of urban birds, found wherever people live

Habitat: gardens, hedges, woods, heaths, estuaries, sea cliffs

Widespread and once abundant resident, but in decline and disappearing from city centres


Male streaked brown and black with grey crown and black bib; female buff and brown; 14–15cm

Gregarious, twittering  birds with direct flight

Feed on insects, seeds, bread, often in large flocks


Untidy domed nest of dry grass, usually in a hole in a building, sometimes a tree

Up to 3 broods April to June; 3–5 white eggs, blotched grey

Moves to farmland in autumn to feed on ripening corn

© David Harrison

© Gerald Downey