Eurasian tree sparrow

The Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus) is a passerine bird in the sparrow family with a rich chestnut crown and nape, and a black patch on each pure white cheek. The sexes are similarly plumaged, and young birds are a duller version of the adult. This sparrow breeds over most of temperate Eurasia and Southeast Asia, where it is known as the tree sparrow, and it has been introduced elsewhere including the United States, where it is known as the Eurasian tree sparrow or German sparrow to differentiate it from the native unrelated American tree sparrow. Although several subspecies are recognised, the appearance of this bird varies little across its extensive range.

The Eurasian tree sparrow's untidy nest is built in a natural cavity, a hole in a building or the large nest of a European magpie or white stork. The typical clutch is five or six eggs which hatch in under two weeks. This sparrow feeds mainly on seeds, but invertebrates are also consumed, particularly during the breeding season. As with other small birds, infection by parasites and diseases, and predation by birds of prey take their toll, and the typical life span is about two years.

The Eurasian tree sparrow is widespread in the towns and cities of eastern Asia, but in Europe it is a bird of lightly wooded open countryside, with the house sparrow breeding in the more urban areas. The Eurasian tree sparrow's extensive range and large population ensure that it is not endangered globally, but there have been large declines in western European populations, in part due to changes in farming practices involving increased use of herbicides and loss of winter stubble fields. In eastern Asia and western Australia, this species is sometimes viewed as a pest, although it is also widely celebrated in oriental art.

Eurasian tree sparrow
Tree Sparrow Japan Flip
Adult of subspecies P. m. saturatus in Japan
Passer montanus malaccensis @ Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1)
Facial features of adult male of subspecies P. m. malaccensis in Malaysia.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Passeridae
Genus: Passer
P. montanus
Binomial name
Passer montanus
Afro-Eurasian distribution

  Breeding summer visitor
  Resident breeder
  Non-breeding winter visitor

  • Fringilla montana Linnaeus, 1758
  • Loxia scandens Hermann 1783
  • Passer arboreus Foster 1817


The Eurasian tree sparrow is 12.5–14 cm (5–5 12 in) long,[2] with a wingspan of about 21 cm (8.3 in) and a weight of 24 g (0.85 oz),[3] making it roughly 10% smaller than the house sparrow.[4] The adult's crown and nape are rich chestnut, and there is a kidney-shaped black ear patch on each pure white cheek; the chin, throat, and the area between the bill and throat are black. The upperparts are light brown, streaked with black, and the brown wings have two distinct narrow white bars. The legs are pale brown, and the bill is lead-blue in summer, becoming almost black in winter.[5]

This sparrow is distinctive even within its genus in that it has no plumage differences between the sexes; the juvenile also resembles the adult, although the colours tend to be duller.[6] Its contrasting face pattern makes this species easily identifiable in all plumages;[4] the smaller size and brown, not grey, crown are additional differences from the male house sparrow.[2] Adult and juvenile Eurasian tree sparrows undergo a slow complete moult in the autumn, and show an increase in body mass despite a reduction in stored fat. The change in mass is due to an increase in blood volume to support active feather growth, and a generally higher water content in the body.[7]

The Eurasian tree sparrow has no true song, but its vocalisations include an excited series of tschip calls given by unpaired or courting males. Other monosyllabic chirps are used in social contacts, and the flight call is a harsh teck.[4] A study comparing the vocalisations of the introduced Missouri population with those of birds from Germany showed that the US birds had fewer shared syllable types (memes) and more structure within the population than the European sparrows. This may have resulted from the small size of the founding North American population and a consequent loss of genetic diversity.[8]


Description of the house and Eurasian tree sparrows from the Systema naturae[9]

The Old World sparrow genus Passer is a group of small passerine birds that is believed to have originated in Africa, and which contains 15–25 species depending on the authority.[10] Its members are typically found in open, lightly wooded, habitats, although several species, notably the house sparrow (P. domesticus) have adapted to human habitations. Most species in the genus are typically 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) long, predominantly brown or greyish birds with short square tails and stubby conical beaks. They are primarily ground-feeding seed-eaters, although they also consume invertebrates, especially when breeding.[11] Genetic studies show that the Eurasian tree sparrow diverged from the other Eurasian members of its genus relatively early, before the speciation of the house, plain-backed and Spanish sparrows.[12][13] The Eurasian species is not closely related to the American tree sparrow (Spizelloides arborea), which is in a different family, the American sparrows.[14]

The Eurasian tree sparrow's binomial name is derived from two Latin words: passer, "sparrow", and montanus, "of the mountains" (from mons "mountain").[3] The Eurasian tree sparrow was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1758 Systema Naturae as Fringilla montana,[15] but, along with the house sparrow, it was soon moved from the finches (family Fringillidae) into the new genus Passer created by French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760.[16] The Eurasian tree sparrow's common name is given because of its preference of tree holes for nesting. This name, and the scientific name montanus, do not appropriately describe this species's habitat preferences: the German name Feldsperling ("field sparrow") comes closer to doing so.[17]



P. m. montanus

Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus Nathang Valley Sikkim India 03.11.2014

P. m. tibetanus

Passer montanus malaccensis(1)

P. m. malaccensis

Eurasian Treesparrow Khonoma Nagaland India 05.11.2016

P. m. hepaticus

This species varies little in appearance across its large range, and the differences between the seven extant subspecies recognised by Clement are slight. At least 15 other subspecies have been proposed, but are considered to be intermediates of the listed races.[5][18]

  • P. m. montanus, the nominate subspecies, ranges across Europe except southwestern Iberia, southern Greece, and the former Yugoslavia. It also breeds in Asia east to the Lena River and south to the northern regions of Turkey, the Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Korea.
  • P. m. transcaucasicus, described by Sergei Aleksandrovich Buturlin in 1906, breeds from the southern Caucasus east to northern Iran. It is duller and greyer than the nominate race.[5]
  • P. m. dilutus, described by Charles Wallace Richmond in 1856, is resident in the extreme northeast of Iran, northern Pakistan and northwest India. It also occurs further north, from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan east to China. Compared to P. m. montanus, it is paler, with sandy-brown upperparts.[5]
  • P. m. tibetanus, the largest race by size, was described by Stuart Baker in 1925. It is found in the northern Himalayas, from Nepal east through Tibet to northwest China. It resembles P. m. dilutus, but is darker.[5]
  • P. m. saturatus, described by Leonhard Hess Stejneger in 1885, breeds in Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. It is deeper brown than the nominate subspecies and has a larger bill.[5]
  • P. m. malaccensis, described by Alphonse Dubois in 1885, is found from the southern Himalayas east to Hainan and Indonesia. It is a dark race, like P. m. saturatus, but is smaller and more heavily streaked on its upperparts.[5]
  • P. m. hepaticus, described by Sidney Dillon Ripley in 1948, breeds from northeast Assam to northwest Burma. It is similar to P. m. saturatus, but redder on its head and upperparts.[5]

Distribution and habitat

The Eurasian tree sparrow's natural breeding range comprises most of temperate Europe and Asia south of about latitude 68°N (north of this the summers are too cold, with July average temperatures below 12 °C) and through Southeast Asia to Java and Bali. It formerly bred in the Faroes, Malta and Gozo.[4][5] In South Asia it is found mainly in the temperate zone.[19][20] It is sedentary over most of its extensive range, but northernmost breeding populations migrate south for the winter,[21] and small numbers leave southern Europe for North Africa and the Middle East.[4] The eastern subspecies P. m. dilutus reaches coastal Pakistan in winter and thousands of birds of this race move through eastern China in autumn.[5]

The Eurasian tree sparrow has been introduced outside its native range, but has not always become established, possibly due to competition with the house sparrow. It was introduced successfully to Sardinia, eastern Indonesia, the Philippines and Micronesia, but introductions to New Zealand and Bermuda did not take root. Ship-carried birds colonised Borneo. This sparrow has occurred as a natural vagrant to Gibraltar, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, the United Arab Emirates,[5] Morocco and Iceland.[1] In North America, a population of about 15,000 birds has become established around St. Louis and neighbouring parts of Illinois and southeastern Iowa.[22] These sparrows are descended from 12 birds imported from Germany and released in late April 1870 as part of a project to enhance the native North American avifauna. Within its limited US range of about 22,000 square kilometres (8,500 sq mi),[23] the Eurasian tree sparrow has to compete with the house sparrow in urban centres, and is therefore mainly found in parks, farms and rural woods.[8][24] The American population is sometimes referred to as the "German sparrow", to distinguish it from both the native American tree sparrow species and the much more widespread "English" house sparrow.[25]

Nest of Passer montanus B
Urban nest under a roof tile of a wooden house in Japan

In Australia, the Eurasian tree sparrow is present in Melbourne, towns in central and northern Victoria and some centres in the Riverina region of New South Wales. It is a prohibited species in Western Australia, where it often arrives on ships from Southeast Asia.[26]

Despite its scientific name, Passer montanus, this is not typically a mountain species, and reaches only 700 m (2,300 ft) in Switzerland, although it has bred at 1,700 m (5,600 ft) in the northern Caucasus and as high as 4,270 m (14,010 ft) in Nepal.[4][5] In Europe, it is frequently found on coasts with cliffs, in empty buildings, in pollarded willows along slow water courses, or in open countryside with small isolated patches of woodland.[4] The Eurasian tree sparrow shows a strong preference for nest-sites near wetland habitats, and avoids breeding on intensively managed mixed farmland.[27]

When the Eurasian tree sparrow and the larger house sparrow occur in the same area, the house sparrow generally breeds in urban areas while the smaller Eurasian tree sparrow nests in the countryside.[5] Where trees are in short supply, as in Mongolia, both species may utilise man-made structures as nest sites.[28] The Eurasian tree sparrow is rural in Europe, but is an urban bird in eastern Asia; in southern and central Asia, both Passer species may be found around towns and villages.[5] In parts of the Mediterranean, such as Italy, both the tree and the Italian or Spanish sparrows may be found in settlements.[29] In Australia, the Eurasian tree sparrow is largely an urban bird, and it is the house sparrow which utilises more natural habitats.[26]

Behaviour and ecology


Passer montanus montanus MHNT.ZOO.2010.11.209
Eggs, from the collection of the Museum de Toulouse

The Eurasian tree sparrow reaches breeding maturity within a year from hatching,[30] and typically builds its nest in a cavity in an old tree or rock face. Some nests are not in holes as such, but are built among roots of overhanging gorse or similar bush.[31] Roof cavities in houses may be used,[31] and in the tropics, the crown of a palm tree or the ceiling of a verandah can serve as a nest site.[32] This species will breed in the disused domed nest of a European magpie,[31] or an active or unused stick nest of a large bird such as the white stork,[33] white-tailed eagle, osprey, black kite or grey heron. It will sometimes attempt to take over the nest of other birds that breed in holes or enclosed spaces, such as the barn swallow, house martin, sand martin or European bee-eater.[34]

Pairs may breed in isolation or in loose colonies,[35] and will readily use nest boxes. In a Spanish study, boxes made from a mixture of wood and concrete (woodcrete) had a much higher occupancy rate than wooden boxes (76.5% versus 33.5%), and birds nesting in woodcrete sites had earlier clutches, a shorter incubation period and more breeding attempts per season. Clutch size and chick condition did not differ between nest box types, but reproductive success was higher in woodcrete, perhaps because the synthetic nests were 1.5 °C warmer than their wooden counterparts.[36]

The male calls from near the nest site in spring to proclaim ownership and attract a mate. He may also carry nest material into the nest hole.[5] The display and nest building is repeated in autumn. The preferred locations for the autumn display are old Eurasian tree sparrow nests, particularly those where nestlings had hatched. Empty nest boxes, and sites used by house sparrows or other hole nesting birds, such as tits, pied flycatchers or common redstarts, are rarely used for the autumn display.[37]

Passer montanus 050526
A woodcrete nest box

The untidy nest is composed of hay, grass, wool or other material and lined with feathers,[31] which improve the thermal insulation.[38] A complete nest consists of three layers; base, lining and dome.[37] The typical clutch is five or six eggs (rarely more than four in Malaysia),[32] white to pale grey and heavily marked with spots, small blotches, or speckling;[39] they are 20 mm × 14 mm (0.79 in × 0.55 in) in size and weigh 2.1 g (0.074 oz), of which 7% is shell.[3] The eggs are incubated by both parents for 12–13 days before the altricial, naked chicks hatch, and a further 15–18 days elapse before they fledge. Two or three broods may be raised each year;[3] birds breeding in colonies produce more eggs and fledglings from their first broods than solitary pairs, but the reverse is true for second and third clutches.[40] Females which copulate frequently tend to lay more eggs and have a shorter incubation time, so within-pair mating may be an indicator of the pairs' reproductive ability.[41] There is a significant level of promiscuity; in a Hungarian study, more than 9% of chicks were sired by extra-pair males, and 20% of the broods contained at least one extra-pair young.[42]

Hybridisation between the Eurasian tree sparrow and the house sparrow has been recorded in many parts of the world with male hybrids tending to resemble the Eurasian tree sparrow while females have more similarities with the house sparrow.[43] A breeding population in the Eastern Ghats of India,[44] said to be introduced,[5] may also hybridise with house sparrows.[20] On at least one occasion a mixed pair has resulted in fertile young.[45][46][47] A wild hybridisation with the resident sparrows of Malta, which are intermediate between the Spanish sparrow (P. hispaniolensis) and Italian sparrows (P. italiae), was recorded in Malta in 1975.[5]


Passer montanus bl
At a feeder

The tree sparrow is a predominantly seed and grain eating bird which feeds on the ground in flocks, often with house sparrows, finches, or buntings. It eats weed seeds, such as chickweeds and goosefoot, spilled grain,[5] and it may also visit feeding stations, especially for peanuts. It will also feed on invertebrates, especially during the breeding season when the young are fed mainly on animal food; it takes insects, woodlice, millipedes, centipedes, spiders and harvestmen.[48]

Adults use a variety of wetlands when foraging for invertebrate prey to feed nestlings, and aquatic sites play a key role in providing adequate diversity and availability of suitable invertebrate prey to allow successful chick rearing throughout the long breeding season of this multi-brooded species. Large areas of formerly occupied farmland no longer provide these invertebrate resources due to the effects of intensive farming, and the availability of supplementary seed food within 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) of the nest-site does not influence nest-site choice, or affect the number of young raised.[27]

In winter, seed resources are most likely to be a key limiting factor.[27] At this time of year, individuals in a flock form linear dominance hierarchies, but there is no strong relation between the size of the throat patch and position in that hierarchy. This is in contrast to the house sparrow; in that species, fights to establish dominance are reduced by the display of the throat patch, the size of which acts as a signalling "badge" of fitness.[49] Although there is evidence that the black throat patch of male, but not female, tree sparrows predicts fighting success in foraging flocks.[50]

The risk of predation affects feeding strategies. A study showed increased distance between shelter and a food supply meant that birds visited a feeder in smaller flocks, spent less time on it and were more vigilant when far from shelter. Sparrows can feed as "producers", searching for food directly, or "scroungers", just joining other flock members who have already discovered food. Scrounging was 30% more likely at exposed feeding sites, although this is not due to increased anti-predator vigilance. A possible explanation is that riskier places are used by individuals with lower fat reserves.[51]


The sparrowhawk is a widespread predator.

Predators of the tree sparrow include a variety of accipiters, falcons and owls, such as the Eurasian sparrowhawk,[48] common kestrel,[52] little owl,[53][54] and sometimes long-eared owl and white stork.[55][56] It does not appear to be at an increased risk of predation during its autumn moult, despite having fewer flight feathers at that time.[57] Nests may be raided by Eurasian magpies, jays, least weasels, rats, cats and constricting snakes such as the horseshoe whip snake.[58][59][60]

Many species of birdlice are present on the birds and in their nests,[61][62] and mites of the genus Knemidocoptes have been known to infest populations, resulting in lesions on the legs and toes.[63] Parasitisation of nestlings by Protocalliphora blow-fly larvae is a significant factor in nestling mortality.[64] Egg size does not influence nestling mortality, but chicks from large eggs grow faster.[65]

Tree sparrows are also subject to bacterial and viral infections. Bacteria have been shown to be an important factor in the failure of eggs to hatch and in nestling mortality,[66] and mass deaths due to Salmonella infection have been noted in Japan.[67] Avian malaria parasites have been found in the blood of many populations,[68] and birds in China were found to harbour a strain of H5N1 that was highly virulent to chickens.[69]

The immune response of tree sparrows is less robust than that of the house sparrow and has been proposed as a factor in the greater invasive potential of the latter.[70] The house sparrow and tree sparrow are the most frequent victims of roadkill on the roads of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe.[71] The maximum recorded age is 13.1 years,[30] but three years is a typical lifespan.[3]


Stubble below Tinto
Winter stubble is a seasonal food resource.[72]

The tree sparrow has a large range estimated as 98.3 million square kilometres (38.0 million sq mi) and a population of 190–310 million individuals. Although the population is declining, the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (that is, declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species' conservation status is evaluated at the global level as being of least concern.[1]

Although the tree sparrow has been expanding its range in Fennoscandia and eastern Europe, populations have been declining in much of western Europe,[4][73] a trend reflected in other farmland birds such as the skylark, corn bunting and northern lapwing. From 1980 to 2003, common farmland bird numbers fell by 28%.[72] The collapse in populations seems to have been particularly severe in Great Britain, where there was a 95% decline between 1970 and 1998,[74] and Ireland, which had only 1,000–1,500 pairs in the late 1990s.[4][75] In the British Isles, such declines may be due to natural fluctuations, to which tree sparrows are known to be prone.[29] Breeding performance has improved substantially as population sizes have decreased, suggesting that decreases in productivity were not responsible for the decline and that survival was the critical factor.[76] The large decline in tree sparrow numbers is probably the result of agricultural intensification and specialisation, particularly the increased use of herbicides and a trend towards autumn-sown crops (at the expense of spring-sown crops that produce stubble fields in winter). The change from mixed to specialised farming and the increased use of insecticides has reduced the amount of insect food available for nestlings.[72]

Relationships with humans

Crioceris asparagi
A horticultural pest, the common asparagus beetle, is a prey item.
Suzume Odori
Detail from Hokusai's Suzume Odori

The tree sparrow is seen as a pest in some areas. In Australia, it damages many cereal and fruit crops and spoils cereal crops, animal feed and stored grain with its droppings. Quarantine rules prohibit the transport of this species into Western Australia.[26]

Chairman Mao Zedong of China attempted in April 1958 to reduce crop damage by tree sparrows, estimated at 4.5 kg (9.9 lb) of grain per bird each year, by mobilising three million people and many scarecrows to drive the birds to death by exhaustion. Although initially successful, the "great sparrow campaign" had overlooked the numbers of locusts and other insect pests consumed by the birds, and crop yields fell, exacerbating a famine which led to the deaths of 30 million people between 1959 and 1961.[22][77] The tree sparrow's consumption of insects has led to its use in agriculture to control fruit tree pests and the common asparagus beetle, Crioceris aspergi.[78]

The tree sparrow has long been depicted in Chinese and Japanese art, often on a plant spray or in a flying flock,[77] and representations by oriental artists including Hiroshige have featured on the postage stamps of Antigua and Barbuda, Central African Republic, China and the Gambia. More straightforward illustrations were used on the stamps of Belarus, Belgium, Cambodia, Estonia and Taiwan.[79] The fluttering of the bird gave rise to a traditional Japanese dance, the Suzume Odori, developed in Sendai, which was depicted by artists such as Hokusai.[80]

In the Philippines, where it is one of several species referred to as maya, and is sometimes specifically referred to as the "mayang simbahan" ("church maya" or "church sparrow"), the tree sparrow is the most common bird in the cities. Many urban Filipinos confuse it with the former national bird of the Philippines, the black-headed munia – also called a maya, but specifically differentiated in folk taxa as the "mayang pula" ("red maya").[81]


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Works cited

  • Anderson, Ted R. (2006). Biology of the Ubiquitous House Sparrow: From Genes to Populations. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-530411-4.
  • Arlott, Norman (2007). Birds of the Palearctic: Passerines. London: Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-714705-2.
  • Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie ou méthode contenant la division des oiseaux en ordres, sections, genres, especes & leurs variétés. A laquelle on a joint une description exacte de chaque espece, avec les citations des auteurs qui en ont traité, les noms qu'ils leur ont donnés, ceux que leur ont donnés les différentes nations, & les noms vulgaires. Ouvrage enrichi de figures en taille-douce (in French). Paris: Bauche.
  • Byers, Clive; Curson, Jon; Olsson, Urban (1995). Sparrows and Buntings: a Guide to the Sparrows and Buntings of North America and the World. Pica Press. ISBN 978-1-873403-19-8.
  • Clement, Peter; Harris, Alan; Davis, John (1993). Finches and Sparrows: an Identification Guide. Christopher Helm. ISBN 978-0-7136-8017-1.
  • Cocker, Mark; Mabey, Richard (2005). Birds Britannica. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 978-0-7011-6907-7.
  • Coward, Thomas Alfred (1930). The Birds of the British Isles and Their Eggs. I (3rd ed.). Frederick Warne. ISBN 978-0-7232-0999-7.
  • Forbush, Edward Howe (1907). Useful Birds and Their Protection. Boston: Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture.
  • Kennedy, Robert S.; Gonzales, Pedro C.; Dickinson, Edward C.; Miranda, Hector; Fisher, Timothy H. (2000). A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-854668-9.
  • Linnaeus, Carolus (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata (in Latin). Holmia: Laurentius Salvius.
  • Mullarney, Killian; Svensson, Lars; Zetterstrom, Dan; Grant, Peter (1999). Collins Bird Guide. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-219728-1.
  • Pinowski, Jan; Kavanagh, P. P.; Górski, W. (1991). Nestling mortality of granivorous birds due to microorganisms and toxic substances. Varsovia: Polish Scientific Publishers. ISBN 978-83-01-10476-4.
  • Pinowski, Jan; Summers-Smith, J. Denis, eds. (1990). Granivorous birds in the agricultural landscape. Lomianki: Polish Academy of Sciences. ISBN 978-83-01-08460-8.
  • Rasmussen, Pamela C.; Anderton, John C. (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press and Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-84-87334-67-2.
  • Robinson, Herbert C.; Chasen, Frederick Nutter (1927–1939). Birds of the Malay Peninsula. London: H. F. & G. Witherby. Archived from the original on 2009-02-01.
  • Snow, David; Perrins, Christopher M. (editors) (1998). The Birds of the Western Palearctic. I–II (concise ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-854099-1.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • Summers-Smith, J. Denis (1988). The Sparrows. illustrated by Robert Gillmor. Calton, Staffs, England: T. & A. D. Poyser. ISBN 978-0-85661-048-6.

Further reading

External links

Birds of Ashmore Reef

The Birds of Ashmore Reef comprise three main groups:

Seabirds, including at least five species of breeding terns, with several other seabirds, including petrels, recorded in the surrounding waters

Migratory shorebirds en route from northern Asia to Australia

Landbirds, only three breeding species (two herons and a rail) but several others, including passerines, visit, either on migration to northern Australia or as vagrants

Chestnut munia

The chestnut munia (Lonchura atricapilla), formerly considered as a subspecies of the tricolored munia, is also known as black-headed munia.It is a small passerine bird. This estrildid finch is a resident breeding bird in Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Hawaii.

Before 1995, it was the national bird of the Philippines,

where it is known as mayang pula ("red maya") because of its brick red patch on the lower back which is visible only when it flies. (This distinguishes it from other birds locally called maya, notably the predominantly brownish "mayang simbahan" (tree sparrow) which is more common in urban areas.)

Four Pests Campaign

The Four Pests Campaign (Chinese: 除四害), was one of the first actions taken in the Great Leap Forward in China from 1958 to 1962. The four pests to be eliminated were rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows. The extermination of sparrows is also known as Great Sparrow Campaign (Chinese: 打麻雀运动; pinyin: Dǎ Máquè Yùndòng) or Kill Sparrows Campaign (Chinese: 消灭麻雀运动; pinyin: Xiāomiè Máquè Yùndòng), which resulted in severe ecological imbalance, being one of the causes of the Great Chinese Famine. In 1960, Mao ended the campaign against sparrows and redirected the fourth focus to bed bugs.

Horseshoe Lake (Madison County, Illinois)

Horseshoe Lake, a National Natural Landmark, is located in the American Bottom of Illinois within the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, is 2,400 acres (10 km2) in size, and is the second-largest natural lake in Illinois after Lake Michigan. An oxbow lake which is a remnant of a Mississippi River meander, the lake's elevation is 403 feet (123 m) above sea level. The lake is the site of Horseshoe Lake State Park, which is 2,960 acres (12 km2) in size. The lake is bordered by the towns of Madison and Granite City. The lake is located within Nameoki Township, about four miles east of St. Louis, Missouri.

The lake is very shallow, about three feet (1 m) deep throughout most the lake, but there is one deep spot, about 54.5 feet (16 m) deep, due to dredging for sand in years past. The lake is annually drained in part to provide habitat for shorebirds. At least 287 bird species have been found at this lake, which includes most of the species found statewide. Canada geese winter here, as well as bald eagles. Other prominent birds include the mallard duck, snowy egret and little blue heron, and the Eurasian tree sparrow, limited to this region in North America. Fish species include bluegill, sunfish, shortnose gar, spotted gar, crappie, largemouth bass and channel catfish. The western part of the lake is industrialized, dominated by the Granite City Works facility of the United States Steel Corporation.

House sparrow

The house sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world. It is a small bird which has a typical length of 16 cm (6.3 in) and a mass of 24–39.5 g (0.85–1.39 oz). Females and young birds are coloured pale brown and grey, and males have brighter black, white, and brown markings. One of about 25 species in the genus Passer, the house sparrow is native to most of Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, and much of Asia. Its intentional or accidental introductions to many regions, including parts of Australasia, Africa, and the Americas, make it the most widely distributed wild bird.

The house sparrow is strongly associated with human habitation, and can live in urban or rural settings. Though found in widely varied habitats and climates, it typically avoids extensive woodlands, grasslands, and deserts away from human development. It feeds mostly on the seeds of grains and weeds, but it is an opportunistic eater and commonly eats insects and many other foods. Its predators include domestic cats, hawks, owls, and many other predatory birds and mammals.

Because of its numbers, ubiquity, and association with human settlements, the house sparrow is culturally prominent. It is extensively, and usually unsuccessfully, persecuted as an agricultural pest. It has also often been kept as a pet, as well as being a food item and a symbol of lust, sexual potency, commonness, and vulgarity. Though it is widespread and abundant, its numbers have declined in some areas. The animal's conservation status is listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List.

Italian sparrow

The Italian sparrow (Passer italiae), also known as the cisalpine sparrow, is a passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in Italy and other parts of the Mediterranean region. In appearance, it is intermediate between the house sparrow, and the Spanish sparrow, a species of the Mediterranean and Central Asia closely related to the house sparrow. The Italian sparrow occurs in northern Italy and neighbouring regions, with intermediates with the house sparrow in a very narrow contact zone in the Alps, a slow gradation in appearance from the Italian to Spanish sparrows across central and southern Italy, and more birds of intermediate appearance in Malta, Crete, and other parts of the Mediterranean.

There has been much debate on the origins and taxonomic status of the Italian sparrow, especially given its possible hybrid origin. Some have classified it as a subspecies of house sparrow, a subspecies of the Spanish sparrow, or as a distinct species, a treatment followed if only for convenience by authorities such as the Handbook of the Birds of the World. A DNA analysis by Glenn-Peter Sætre and colleagues published in 2011 indicated an origin of the Italian sparrow through hybridisation between the Spanish and house sparrows, and Sætre and colleagues argued that given its origins and the limited extent of hybridisation, the treatment as a distinct species was supported.

Järveküla Nature Reserve

Järveküla Nature Reserve is a nature reserve founded in 1990, situated by Lake Vörtsjärv in southern Estonia (Viljandi County) near the village of Järveküla. The nature reserve has been established to protect the population of white-tailed eagles present in the area, and includes pine forest and patches of bog.Other birds found in Järveküla Nature Reserve include: the Barn swallow (the national bird of Estonia), Eurasian wryneck, Eurasian golden oriole, Icterine warbler, River warbler, Spotted flycatcher, Eurasian tree sparrow, Common chaffinch, European greenfinch, European pied flycatcher, Eurasian skylark, Fieldfare, White wagtail, Yellowhammer, Hooded crow, Garden warbler, Grey heron, Eurasian blue tit, Eurasian blackcap, Common rosefinch, European goldfinch and Common chiffchaff among others.

List of birds of Christmas Island

The Birds of Christmas Island form a heterogeneous group of over 100 species. There is a core group of ten endemics that have evolved on the remote island in the eastern Indian Ocean for thousands of years, attended by a suite of regular migrants, opportunists and occasional visitors. Some 200 km from the nearest land, Java, Christmas Island was not occupied by humans until the late 19th century. It is now an Australian territory. The natural vegetation of most of the 140 km² island is rainforest, to which the endemic landbirds are adapted, while the seabirds have taken advantage of a breeding location which had no major natural predators.

After over a century of human exploitation of the phosphate deposits covering much of the island, two thirds of the rainforest cover remains and is now protected as a national park. However, gaps where the forest has been cleared, and the introduction of exotic fauna, continue to destabilise the island’s biological diversity. The endemic Abbott's booby is threatened when nesting by wind turbulence caused by past forest clearance. However, the biggest immediate threat is the introduction and spread of yellow crazy ants, through both direct predation and ecosystem collapse. This has led to all the island’s endemic bird species and subspecies being classified as Critically Endangered.

Meanwhile, the number of species recorded from Christmas Island continues to increase as birders, especially from Australia, attracted by the island’s endemics, record a variety of vagrants previously unnoticed. Some of these may in time, as with the white-breasted waterhen, establish breeding populations. Christmas Island is now seen as a birding ‘hot spot’, not only for its endemics but also for the chance of recording new species for the Australian bird list, something reflected in the frequency of submissions of sightings to the Birds Australia Rarities Committee.

List of birds of Guam

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Guam. The avifauna of Guam include a total of 124 species, of which three are endemic, nine have been introduced by humans and one is rare or accidental. Four species listed are extirpated in Guam and are not included in the species count. Six species are globally threatened.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 6th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Guam.

The following tags have been used to highlight several categories. Not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are commonly occurring native species.

(A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Guam

(*) Endemic - a species either entirely confined to Guam in its natural distribution, or a species whose breeding range is entirely confined to Guam

(E) Extinct - a recent bird that no longer exists

(EW) Extinct in the wild - a species which only exists in captive breeding programs

(I) Introduced - a species introduced to Guam as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions

(Ex) Extirpated - a species that no longer occurs in Guam although populations exist elsewhere

List of birds of Kyrgyzstan

376 bird species have occurred in the Kyrgyz Republic.

List of birds of San Marino

This is a list of the bird species recorded in San Marino. The avifauna of San Marino include a total of 96 species, none of which are introduced or endemic.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of the Association of European Rarities Committees.

Maya (bird)

The term maya refers to a folk taxon often used in the Philippines to refer to a variety of small, commonly observed passerine birds, including a number of sparrows, finches and munias.

This group includes Lonchura atricapilla, specifically referred to by the common name "mayang pula" ("red maya"), which was recognized as the national bird of the Philippines until 1995, when then-President Fidel V. Ramos formally transferred that honorific to the Philippine eagle.It also includes the Eurasian tree sparrow, Passer montanus, introduced from Europe and locally referred to as "mayang simbahan" - an invasive species so predominant in urban areas that many urban Filipinos mistakenly think it is the only species referred to as "maya."


Passer is a genus of sparrows, also known as the true sparrows. The genus includes the house sparrow and the Eurasian tree sparrow, some of the most common birds in the world. They are small birds with thick bills for eating seeds, and are mostly coloured grey or brown. Native to the Old World, some species have been introduced throughout the world.

Russet sparrow

The russet sparrow (Passer cinnamomeus), also called the cinnamon or cinnamon tree sparrow, is a passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae. A chunky little seed-eating bird with a thick bill, it has a body length of 14 to 15 cm (5.5–5.9 in). Its plumage is mainly warm rufous above and grey below. It exhibits sexual dimorphism, with the plumage of both sexes patterned similarly to that of the corresponding sex of house sparrow. Its vocalisations are sweet and musical chirps, which when strung together form a song.

Three subspecies are recognised, differing chiefly in the yellowness of their underparts. The subspecies rutilans and intensior breed in parts of eastern Asia, where they are usually found in light woodland, and the subspecies cinnamomeus breeds in the Himalayas, where it is usually associated with terrace cultivation. The russet sparrow is the typical sparrow of human habitations in towns where the house and Eurasian tree sparrows are absent. In the southern part of its range, the russet sparrow prefers higher altitudes, but in the north it breeds by the sea. The russet sparrow is known well enough in the Himalayas to have a distinct name in some languages, and is depicted in Japanese art.

This sparrow feeds mainly on the seeds of herbs and grains, but it also eats berries and insects, particularly during the breeding season. This diet makes it a minor pest in agricultural areas, but also a predator of insect pests. While breeding, it is not social, as its nests are dispersed. It forms flocks when not breeding, although it associates with other bird species infrequently. In some parts of its range, the russet sparrow migrates, at least to lower altitudes. Its nest is located in a tree cavity, or a hole in a cliff or building. The male chooses the nest site before finding a mate and uses the nest for courtship display. The typical clutch contains five or six whitish eggs. Both sexes incubate and feed the young.

Sai Kung Peninsula

Sai Kung Peninsula (Chinese: 西貢半島; Jyutping: sai1 gung3 bun3 dou2) is a peninsula in the easternmost part of the New Territories in Hong Kong. Its name comes from Sai Kung Town in the central southern area of the peninsula. The southern part of the peninsula is administrated by Sai Kung District, the north by Tai Po District and the northwest by Sha Tin District.

Santiphap Park

Santiphap Park (Thai: สวนสันติภาพ, RTGS: Suan Santiphap, literally "Peace Park") is an 8-acre (0.032 km2) park in Bangkok, Thailand. It is located between Ratchawithi Road and Rang Nam Road in Ratchathewi district.

The land on which Santiphap Park is built is leased from the Crown Property Bureau by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). It was previously the site of subsidized housing overseen by the National Housing Authority. The BMA obtained a 30-year lease, beginning in October 1990. Construction on the park began in 1997.Santiphap Park was opened to the public on August 18, 1998. The name Santiphap, meaning "peace", as well as the date of the park's opening, commemorate the end of World War II, which took place 53 years earlier.The dove is the symbol of Santiphap Park. A blackened bronze sculpture situated in the park's central pond depicts a dove carrying in its beak an olive branch with five blossoms, representing the spread of peace throughout the world. The sculpture is based on a drawing by Pablo Picasso.The entrance signs to Santiphap Park are a facsimile of the handwriting of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, a renowned Buddhist monk, philosopher and pacifist.Over 30 species of birds have been recorded in the park since its creation. Birds most often seen or heard there: rock pigeon, spotted dove, zebra dove, plaintive cuckoo, common koel, coppersmith barbet, Asian palm-swift, streak-eared bulbul, black-naped oriole, large-billed crow, oriental magpie-robin, pied fantail, black-collared starling, Asian pied starling, common myna, white-vented myna, olive-backed sunbird, scarlet-backed flowerpecker, Eurasian tree sparrow. Common winter (October-March) visitors: barn swallow, red-breasted flycatcher, inornate warbler. Species which are seen there less often (but all year round): Chinese pond-heron, little egret, striated heron, painted stork, house swift, common iora, common tailorbird, yellow-vented bulbul, red-whiskered bulbul, house sparrow. Less common winter visitors: ashy drongo, brown shrike. In the wasteland on which the park was later constructed, white-breasted waterhen, black-capped kingfisher, and verditer flycatcher were also recorded. Much more unusually for central Bangkok,

orange-headed thrush and laced woodpecker have been recorded in a quieter condominium garden 50 m from the park.

The park contains a public address system which is used to broadcast a numbered list of park rules at 07:00, 08:00, 15:00, and 18:00; the national anthem at 08:00 and 18:00; and Thai music 07:00-10:00 and 15:00-18:00 most days. The rules and anthem are often audible from over a block away. Complaints by local residents have been ignored by the park management. The central circular paved area in the park is used for aerobics 18:00-18:45, weather permitting.

Santiphap Park is open from 05:00 until 21:00, and is used by 2-3,000 people on working days, and 3-4,000 on holidays.


Sparrows are a family of small passerine birds. They are also known as true sparrows, or Old World sparrows, names also used for a particular genus of the family, Passer. They are distinct from both the American sparrows, in the family Passerellidae, and from a few other birds sharing their name, such as the Java sparrow of the family Estrildidae. Many species nest on buildings and the house and Eurasian tree sparrows, in particular, inhabit cities in large numbers, so sparrows are among the most familiar of all wild birds. They are primarily seed-eaters, though they also consume small insects. Some species scavenge for food around cities and, like gulls or rock doves will happily eat virtually anything in small quantities.

University of the Philippines Arboretum

University of the Philippines Arboretum, also known as UP Arboretum, is a botanical garden located on the campus of the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City, Philippines. It lies at the northern part of the village of U.P. Campus between the U.P.-Ayala Land TechnoHub on Commonwealth Avenue to the south and Central Avenue and the village of Culiat to the north, close to the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute. The 16-hectare (40-acre) man-made forest garden houses a collection of more than 9,000 tropical plants of about 77 unique species. It is one of few rainforests of its size located entirely within Metro Manila.

Sparrows (family: Passeridae)

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