|Conservation status||Probably has affected some native birds by competing for nest sites and food. Eastern population peaked around 1900, has been gradually declining in recent years.|
|Family||Old World Sparrows|
|Habitat||Cities, towns, farms. General surroundings vary, but in North America essentially always found around manmade structures, never in unaltered natural habitats. Lives in city centers, suburbs, farms; also around isolated houses or businesses surrounded by terrain unsuited to House Sparrows, such as desert or forest.|
Forages mostly while hopping on ground. May perch on weed stalks to reach seeds. Adaptable in seeking food, may take smashed insects from the fronts of parked cars, or search tree bark for insects. Comes to bird feeders for a wide variety of items.
Usually 3-6, sometimes 2-7, rarely 1-8. Whitish to greenish white, with brown and gray dots concentrated toward larger end. Incubation is by both parents, 10-14 days. Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave nest about 2 weeks after hatching. 2-3 broods per year.
Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave nest about 2 weeks after hatching. 2-3 broods per year.
Mostly seeds. In most situations, great majority of diet is weed and grass seeds or waste grain. Also eats some insects, especially in summer. In urban surroundings, also scavenges crumbs of food left by humans.
In courtship, male displays by hopping near female with his tail raised, wings drooped, chest puffed out, bowing and chirping. Often breeds in small colonies. Pairs defend only a small territory in the immediate vicinity of nest, chasing away all intruders. Nest: Usually in an enclosed niche such as cavity in tree, hole in building, rain gutter, birdhouse, nests of other birds. Where such sites are scarce, will nest in open in tree branches. Nest (built by both parents) is made of material such as grass, weeds, twigs, trash, often lined with feathers. Inside enclosed space, material forms foundation; in open sites, nest is a globular mass with entrance on side.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Permanent resident over most of its range, including throughout North America.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for over 450 bird species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsShrill, monotonous, noisy chirping.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the House Sparrow
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the House Sparrow
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.