House Sparrow

Passer domesticus


House Sparrows are familiar birds of towns and cities, parks, gardens and farmland. House Sparrows feed on all sorts, including buds, grains, nuts and scraps, and will visit birdtables and feeders. They live in colonies and nest in holes or crevices in buildings, among ivy or other bushes, and in nestboxes; they'll use a variety of materials to make their nest, from string to paper. Both parents will incubate the eggs (between three and five) and raise the young. House Sparrows are residents in the UK, but may disperse from their breeding grounds to feed on nearby farmland and grassland in winter.

How to identify

Male House Sparrows are streaky-brown above and grey below. They have chestnut wings with white wingbars, a black bib (the size of which indicates their status) and a grey cap. Females and juveniles are a drab brown. Males can be distinguished from Tree Sparrows by their grey crown and grey cheeks without a black spot.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Once a common and opportunistic bird of man-made habitats, the House Sparrow is declining at an alarming rate both in gardens and the wider countryside. A lack of winter stubble on farmland, decreasing numbers of insects due to increased use of pesticides and an increase in predation by domestic pets, have all taken their toll. But The Wildlife Trusts are helping to protect House Sparrows by working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices. You can help too: food, water and nesting places (boxes or natural planting) for them. To buy bird food or feeders, visit the Vine House Farm website - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm which gives 5% of all its takings to The Wildlife Trusts.

Species information

Common name
House Sparrow
Latin name
Passer domesticus
Larks, sparrows, wagtails and dunnock
Length: 15cm Wingspan: 24cm Weight: 34g Average Lifespan: 3 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as a Red List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.