RSPB
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Conservation status: Red

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 cheek spot. They are shyer than house sparrows in the UK and are not associated with man, although in continental Europe they often nest in buildings just like house sparrows.

The UK tree sparrow population has suffered a severe decline, estimated at 93 per cent between 1970 and 2008. However, recent Breeding Bird Survey data is encouraging, suggesting that numbers may have started to increase, albeit from a very low point.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Passer montanus

Family

Sparrows (Passeridae)

Where to see them

The tree sparrow is scarcer in the uplands, and the far north and west of the UK. The main populations are now found across the Midlands, southern and eastern England. It is almost absent from the south west, Wales and the north west. Best looked for in hedgerows and woodland edges.

When to see them

All year round

What they eat

Seeds and insects

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-200,000 territories--

Distribution

Key

Audio

Jarek Matusiak, Xeno-canto

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