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House sparrow


House sparrows are birds from the true or old world sparrow family. They are diurnal, which means they mostly come out in the day.

Like most birds, a male sparrow is called a cock, a female sparrow is called a hen, and a baby sparrow is called a chick. A group of sparrows is called a host.


Their resting places are called nests, and they live in colonies. In the UK, house sparrows live in towns, cities, parks and farmland.

What does it need?

They eat a variety of foods, such as buds, grains, seeds, nuts, fruit, insects, worms and scraps.

What needs it?

In the UK, their main predator is cats, although owls and sparrowhawks also prey on them.

The house sparrow diet means they are an effective pest control agent and reduce food-growing loss. They also help to pollinate plants as they fly around. As house sparrows have such a wide appetite and live so closely to humans, they are a good indicator of the local wildlife environment and how we are affecting their ecosystem for example through land redevelopment and increased use of pesticides. In the mid-1960s, there were around 30 million; as of the last assessment in 2016, this had dropped to around 10 million. Although numbers are slowly increasing, at one point the rate of loss was one sparrow a minute.

Fun fact!

House sparrows like to take dust or water baths. It can swim fast when it needs to escape predators, and has even been observed swimming underwater when threatened.

See a video here, and learn more here!

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