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Male house sparrow in grass

Image: Andy Hay

Sparrows are finch-like birds. They have stout bodies, rounded wings and broad heads, with deep, conical bills adapted for seed-eating. 

There are two UK species but several others in Europe, Asia and Africa (American ‘sparrows’ are not closely related). 

They are social and loosely colonial when breeding. Most nest in cavities but some may nest in bushes or trees, building untidy nests of grass and assorted rubbish. They have no well-developed songs, but several variations on loud chirps and cheeps. Some species are closely associated with people.

House sparrow

Noisy and gregarious, these cheerful exploiters of man's rubbish and wastefulness, have managed to colonise most of the world. The ultimate avian opportunist perhaps. Monitoring suggests a severe decl... More...

House sparrow

Tree sparrow

Smaller than a house sparrow and more active, with its tail almost permanently cocked. It has a chestnut brown head and nape (rather than grey), and white cheeks and collar with a contrasting black ch... More...

Tree sparrow