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Birds by name
22 July 2011
Over a 25 year period the house sparrow population has declined by 62 per cent.
Image: Andy Hay
The house sparrow is common through most of its world range, and can tolerate a wide variety of climates.
UK House sparrow populations have fluctuated greatly over the centuries, with a gradual decline over the last 100 years. Causes for the rapid recent declines, particularly in urban and suburban environments, remain largely undetermined, although research is underway that aims to establish the cause(s), and develop conservation solutions.
Declines in rural house sparrow populations are thought to be linked to changes in agricultural practices, particularly the loss of winter stubbles and improved hygiene measures around grain stores.
House sparrow numbers were not monitored adequately before the mid-1970s. Since then, numbers in rural England have nearly halved while numbers in towns and cities have declined by 60 per cent. Because of these large population declines, the house sparrow is now red-listed as a species of high conservation concern.
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