Sparrow: Wikis


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House Sparrow
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Infraorder: Passerida
Superfamily: Passeroidea
Family: Passeridae
Illiger, 1811


True sparrows, the Old World sparrows in the family Passeridae, are small passerine birds. As eight or more species nest in or near buildings, and the House Sparrow and Eurasian Tree Sparrow in particular inhabit cities in large numbers, sparrows may be the most familiar of all wild birds.[1]


Characteristics and classification

Generally, sparrows tend to be small, plump brown-grey birds with short tails and stubby, powerful beaks. The differences between sparrow species can be subtle. They are primarily seed-eaters, though they also consume small insects. A few species scavenge for food around cities and, like gulls or pigeons, will happily eat virtually anything in small quantities. Members of this family range in size from the Chestnut Sparrow (Passer eminibey), at 11.4 cm (4.5 inches) and 13.4 g., to the Parrot-billed Sparrow (Passer gongonensis), at 18 cm (7 inches) and 42 g. (1.5 oz). Sparrows are physically similar to other seed-eating birds, such as finches, but have a vestigial dorsal outer primary feather and an extra bone in the tongue.[2]

The Old World true sparrows are indigenous to Europe, Africa and Asia. In Australia and the Americas, early settlers imported some species which quickly naturalised, particularly in urban and degraded areas. House Sparrows, for example, are now found throughout North America, in every state of Australia except Western Australia, and over much of the heavily populated parts of South America.

Some authorities previously classified the related estrildid finches of the Old World tropics and Australasia as members of the Passeridae.[3] Like the true sparrows, the estrildid finches are small, gregarious and often colonial seed-eaters with short, thick, but pointed bills. They are broadly similar in structure and habits, but tend to be very colourful and vary greatly in their plumage. There are about 140 species. The 2008 Christidis and Boles taxonomic scheme lists the estrildid finches as the separate family Estrildidae, leaving just the true sparrows in Passeridae.[3]

American sparrows, or New World sparrows, are in a different family, Emberizidae, despite some physical resemblance such as the seed-eater's bill and frequently well-marked heads.

The Hedge Sparrow or Dunnock (Prunella modularis) is similarly unrelated. It is a sparrow in name only, a relic of the old practice of calling any small bird a "sparrow".


Juvenile House sparrow

This is a list of sparrow species:

Cultural references



Old World sparrows in literature are usually House Sparrows.[citation needed]

Mountain Magpie, Sparrows and Bramble, by the Chinese artist Huang Zhucai (933–after 993), Song Dynasty.

See also


  1. ^ Clement, Peter; Colston, P. R. (2003). "Sparrows and Snowfinches". in Perrins, Christopher. The Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. Firefly Books. pp. 590–591. ISBN 1-55297-777-3. 
  2. ^ Bledsoe, A.H. & Payne, R.B. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph. ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 222. ISBN 1-85391-186-0. 
  3. ^ a b Christidis L, Boles WE (2008). Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. Canberra: CSIRO Publishing. pp. 177. ISBN 9780643065116. 

Further reading

  • Clement, Harris and Davis, Finches and Sparrows ISBN 0-7136-8017-2 (hardcover) ISBN 0-7136-5203-9 (paperback)

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SPARROW (0. Eng. spearwa; Icel. sporr; O.H.G. Spare), a word perhaps (like the equivalent Latin passer) originally meaning almost any small bird, but gradually restricted in signification, and nowadays in common English applied to only four kinds, which are further differentiated as hedgesparrow, house-sparrow, tree-sparrow and reed-sparrow - the last being a bunting - though when used without a prefix the second of these is usually intended.

1. The hedge-sparrow, called "dunnock" in many parts of Britain, Accentor modularis of the sub-family Turdinae of the thrushes (q.v.), is the little brown-backed bird with an iron-grey head and neck that is to be seen in nearly every garden throughout the country, unobtrusively and yet tamely seeking its food, which consists almost wholly of insects, as it progresses over the ground in short jumps, each movement being accompanied by a slight jerk or shuffle of the wings. Though on the continent of Europe it regularly migrates, it is one of the few soft-billed birds that reside throughout the year with us, and is one of the earliest breeders - its well-known greenish-blue eggs, laid in a warmly built nest, being recognized by hundreds as among the surest signs of returning spring; but a second or even a third brood is produced later. The cock has a sweet but rather feeble song; and the species has long been accounted, though not with accuracy, to be the most common dupe of the cuckoo. Several other species are assigned to the genus Accentor; but all, except the Japanese A. rubidus, which is the counterpart of the British hedge-sparrow, inhabit more or less rocky situations, and one, A. collaris, or alpinus, is a denizen of the higher mountainranges of Europe, though it has several times strayed to England.

2. The house-sparrow, the Fringilla domestics of Linnaeus and Passer domesticus of modern authors, is far too well known to need any description of its appearance or habits, being found, whether in country or town, more attached to human dwellings than any other wild bird; nay, more than that, one may safely assert that it is not known to thrive anywhere far away from the habitations or works of m4n, extending its range in such countries as northern Scandinavia and many parts of the Russian Empire as new settlements are formed and land brought under xxv. 20 0 cultivation. Thus questions arise as to whether it should not be considered a parasite throughout the greater portion of the area it now occupies, and as to what may have been its native country. Moreover, it has been introduced to several of the large towns of North America and to many of the British colonies, in nearly all of which, as had been foreseen by ornithologists, it has multiplied to excess and has become an intolerable nuisance, being unrestrained by the natural checks which partly restrict its increase in Europe and Asia. Whether indeed in the older seats of civilization the house-sparrow is not decidedly injurious to the agriculturist and horticulturist has long been a matter of discussion, and no definite result that a fair judge can accept has yet been reached. It is freely admitted that the damage done to growing crops is often enormous, but as yet the service frequently rendered by the destruction of insect-pests cannot be calculated. In the south of Europe the house-sparrow is in some measure replaced by two allied species, P. hispaniolensis and P. italiae, whose habits are essentially identical with its own; and it is doubtful whether the sparrow of India, P. indicus, is specifically distinct; but Africa has several members of the genus which are decidedly so.

3. The tree-sparrow, the Fringilla montana of Linnaeus and Passer montanus of modern writers - both sexes of which much resemble the male house-sparrow, but are easily distinguishable by the reddish-brown crown, the black patch on the sides of the neck, and doubly-barred wings - is a much more local species, in England generally frequenting the rows of pollardwillows that line so many rivers and canals, in the holes of which it breeds; but in some Eastern countries, and especially in China, it frequents houses, even in towns, and so fills the place of the house-sparrow. Its geographical distribution is extensive and marked by some curious characters, among which may be mentioned that, being a great wanderer, it has effected settlements even in such remote islands as the Faeroes and some of the Outer Hebrides.

The genus Passer belongs to the Passerine family Fringillidae. The American birds called "sparrows" have little in common with the members of the genus Passer, and belong to the family Emberizidae, which is closely allied to the Fringillidae. (A. N.)

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Mentioned among the offerings made by the very poor. Two sparrows were sold for a farthing (Mt 10:29), and five for two farthings (Lk 12:6). The Hebrew word thus rendered is tsippor, which properly denotes the whole family of small birds which feed on grain (Lev 14:4; Ps 843; 102:7). The Greek word of the New Testament is strouthion (Mt 10:29-31), which is thus correctly rendered.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

what mentions this? (please help by turning references to this page into wiki links)

This article needs to be merged with SPARROW (Jewish Encyclopedia).

Simple English

File:Tree Sparrow August 2007 Osaka
Japanese Tree Sparrow
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Infraorder: Passerida
Family: Passeridae
Illiger, 1811

A Sparrow is a member of the genus Passer. They are small passerine birds which belong to the family Passeridae. They are also known as old-world Sparrows. Sparrows often make their nests near houses or buildings. This means they are one of the easiest birds to see in the wild.

The genus has about 30 species round the world The best known of these is the House Sparrow, Passer domesticus.

Some authorities place other genera in the Sparrow group: Petronia, the Rock Rparrows; Carpospiza, the Pale Rockfinch; and Montifringilla, the Snow Finches.[1]



Sparrows are small birds. They are between 11–18 centimeters long. They can weigh between 13–42 grams. They are usually brown and gray. They have short tails and small, strong beaks. Most sparrows eat seeds or small insects. Sparrows are social birds and they live in flocks (groups).

The House Sparrow

File:Passer domesticus April
A male House Sparrow
File:One sparrow then another.ogg
Male chirping, female looking around.

The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a species of sparrow. It can be found in all over the world. It was originally only found in Europe and Asia. However, people travelled to new places and the House Sparrow went to those places too. It is now the bird with the widest distribution. This means it is found in the most places. The species has about 50 subspecies.


Sparrows can be seen on every continent on earth. A long time ago, they lived only in Europe, Asia and Africa. However, people traveled to Australia, North America and South America, and now sparrows are seen there too. The House Sparrow is seen on every continent. In Australia, there are no sparrows in Western Australia, as they have not been able to travel across the deserts that separate that state from the eastern states.[2] The government employs people to hunt and destroy any sparrows that might arrive.[3]

North America

The House Sparrow was introduced deliberately to America in the late 19th century. It was imported by several people, including Eugene Schieffelin, who was a wealthy New York City admirer of Shakespeare. He wanted to introduce to America all the birds mentioned in the works of Shakespeare. Two of these species were great successes: Starlings and House Sparrows. He organized a society for the importation of foreign birds, incorporated in Albany.[4]

Other so-called 'Sparrows'

Some scientists believe that the Estrildid finches are in the same family as sparrows. but they are now in a different family; the Estrildidae[5]

There is also a group called 'American sparrows', or New World sparrows. These are also in a different family, the Emberizidae (Buntings).

The 'Hedge Sparrow' (also known as the Dunnock) Prunella modularis is also not a true sparrow. It is only called a sparrow because a long time ago, people called all small, brown birds 'sparrows'. This name is still used today because it is a tradition.


The House Sparrow is small bird. It is between 14–18 centimeters (5.5–7.1 in) long. It weighs between 24–39.5 grams (0.85–1.4 oz). Females are smaller than males.

The male and female House Sparrows are different colors. The male is brown, gray and white. It has a black throat. The female and young House Sparrows are brown and dark yellow or cream. They have streaks (stripes) on their heads and wings.


The House Sparrow lives close to humans and it is often found near human houses in towns or cities. It is also found near farms. The House Sparrow makes a nest in a bush or small tree. It can have two or three broods per year. This means it has two or three sets of eggs and chicks each year.


The number of House Sparrows in the United Kingdom has gone down, because their hedgerow habitat has shrunk. They are now 'endangered' in the United Kingdom. However, in other countries, the House Sparrow is still very common.


  1. Clement, Peter & Colston P.R. 2003. "Sparrows and Snowfinches". in Perrins, Christopher. The Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. Firefly Books, 590–591. ISBN 1-55297-777-3.
  2. "House Sparrow - Australian Museum". Retrieved 28 July 2010. 
  3. "Department of Agriculture and Food - Many hands combine to remove sparrow threat". Retrieved 28 July 2010. 
  4. Tales of Birding: The most hated bird in America: [1]
  5. Christidis L. & Boles W.E. (2008). Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. Canberra: CSIRO Publishing. pp. 177. ISBN 9780643065116. 



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