Male house sparrow, Oronsay RSPB reserve

Old World sparrows

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.