Australian Bush Birds
House Sparrow  -  Passer domesticus
House Sparrow
Female House Sparrow at Warrnambool, Vic.
House Sparrow Male House Sparrow at Williamstown, Vic
map map The male House Sparrow - Passer domesticus - has a grey crown, chestnut nape, white check patches and shoulder merging into white underside. Throat and breast are black, rump is grey, tail long and rather thin, grey-brown. Back feathers are chestnut edged black; there is a single white wing bar. Breeding males have stubby black bill and extensive black on the breast; non-breeding males have horn-coloured bills and less extensive black breasts. Juvenile males are paler overall, with horn coloured bills, and the reduced black breast markings sometimes little more than a few black bars.

Female House Sparrows (photograph above) have a stubby horn-brown bill with pale brown head and pale buff stripe above and behind the eye extending to the nape. The underside is whitish-grey, back and wing feathers are pale chestnut edged black with a single white wing bar, tail is grey-brown. Reaches 14-16 centimetres in size.

House Sparrow - page 2
The Tree Sparrow is similar to the House Sparrow but is smaller and both sexes have a chestnut brown nape with a dark patch on white cheeks. Tree Sparrows often accompany House Sparrows but have a limited range mainly in central Victoria.

Introduced into Australia in the 1860s the House Sparrow is now an abundant pest.

It is a highly social and gregarious bird, usually found in small colonies but gathers into large flocks after the breeding season. Feeds on grains, fruit and insects and scavenges for food scraps.

Distributed over the eastern half of the continent, including Tasmania. Main numbers are in Victoria, south east South Australia and south-east Queensland. The House Sparrow lives in cities, country towns and around farm buildings; needs holes in buildings or trees as nest sites and displaces native birds from nest sites.