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House Sparrow

Passer domesticus ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: PASSERIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

House Sparrow Photo

You can find House Sparrows most places where there are houses (or other buildings), and few places where there aren’t. Along with two other introduced species, the European Starling and the Rock Pigeon, these are some of our most common birds. Their constant presence outside our doors makes them easy to overlook, and their tendency to displace native birds from nest boxes causes some people to resent them. But House Sparrows, with their capacity to live so intimately with us, are just beneficiaries of our own success.

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Backyard Tips

Many people regard House Sparrows as undesirables in their yards, since they aren't native and can be a menace to native species. House Sparrows are so closely entwined with people's lives that you probably will find them around your home even without feeding them. They are frequent visitors to backyard feeders, where they eat most kinds of birdseed, especially millet, corn, and sunflower seed.

Find This Bird

The best way to find a House Sparrow is to visit an urban area and watch for a conspicuous, tame sparrow hopping on the ground (it might help to bring a sandwich or some birdseed). You can easily attract them with food and they may feed out of your hand. In the countryside, look out for bright, clean versions of the city House Sparrow around barns, stables, and storehouses.

Get Involved

You can help scientists learn more about this species by participating in the Celebrate Urban Birds! project.

Why Did House Sparrow Numbers Rise, then Fall? Citizen-science data point to competition with House Finches.

Keep track of the House Sparrows at your feeder with Project FeederWatch

Help us find out how House Sparrow populations are doing in mid-winter by participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count

Report nesting activities of House Sparrows to the NestWatch citizen-science project. To deter House Sparrows from taking over nest boxes intended for native birds, consider the options noted in the NestWatcher's Resource Center.

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House Sparrows: Complex and Intriguing? (BirdScope, Winter 2004)

Can We Have Your Sparrows? (BirdScope, Winter 2004)

The Trouble with House Sparrows (BirdScope, Winter 2004)

Sparrow Spectrum (BirdScope, Winter 2004)

Lessons from the Rattus rattus of the Bird World (BirdScope, Winter 2004)

Sparrows that Open Doors (BirdScope, Winter 2004)

All About Birds blog, Not Just Sparrows and Pigeons: Cities Harbor 20 Percent of World’s Bird Species, April 29, 2014.

FeederWatcher’s Notebook: In autumn, male House Sparrows are “disguised” as females