Reddish Vale Country Park
House sparrows are decreasing alarmingly in Britain, with 64 percent lost in the last 25 years.
Male house sparrows have a streaked brown plumage with pale cheeks, a grey crown and black bib. The females are paler and without the patterned head.
Sparrows are social and gregarious, and are often found in small flocks. Communal roosts are important for them. They feed on the ground and in vegetation, but will also chase flying insects.
House sparrows breed in the spring and summer and the untidy nest of grass is generally built inside buildings or in other holes, and sometimes free-standing in bushes.
The clutch of 3-5 eggs are incubated by both parents for 12-14 days and the chicks fledge after 15 days.
The House Sparrow originated in the Middle East and spread, along with agriculture, to most of Eurasia and parts of North Africa. Since the mid-nineteenth century, it has reached most of the world, due chiefly to deliberate introductions, but also through natural dispersal and shipborne travel. Its introduced range encompasses most of North America, Central America, southern South America, southern Africa, part of West Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and islands throughout the world. The House Sparrow has also greatly extended its range in northern Eurasia since the 1850s, and continues to do so, as was shown by the colonisations around 1990 of Iceland and Rishiri Island, Japan. The extent of its range makes it the most widely distributed wild bird on the planet.
The House Sparrow has become highly successful in most parts of the world where it has been introduced. This is mostly due to its early adaptation to living with humans, and its adaptability to a wide range of conditions. Other factors may include its robust immune response, compared to the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. When introduced, the House Sparrow can spread quickly, sometimes at the rate of over 140 miles per year. In many parts of the world it has become a pest, and a threat to native bird species. A few introductions have died out or been of limited success, such as those to Greenland and Cape Verde.
House sparrows are not considered to be globally threatened despite recent declines in populations. Despite the decline in numbers there are still thought to be around 3,000,000 breeding pairs.
Lifespan, up to 12yrs,
Diet, seeds and insects,
2.8-4.9 million breeding pairs in UK.