Some Facts About Tree Sparrows
Identification: Go On - Take A Closer Look At Those Sparrows!
Tree Sparrow -
Often overlooked when House Sparrows are present,
but easy to separate
with good views. Slightly smaller size, neater,
more colourful appearance.
Chestnut cap, white cheeks
and black ‘ear’ spot are diagnostic.
the sexes and young birds are similar.
Tree Sparrows are sometimes mistaken
House Sparrow –
Slightly larger and more rangy-looking than Tree
Sparrow, and the more likely of the two to be seen
in truly urban gardens, but still fairly common in
rural areas . Also declining in many places.
The female House Sparrow is much duller than the male,
generally a drab brown without the male’s head
markings, Young birds are much like the female.
What else do we know about Tree Sparrows?
- Gregarious birds, often forming winter flocks where a
sizeable food-source exists eg over-wintered stubble or
- The decline is associated with a number of circumstances …intensive
agriculture, hedgerow clearance, loss of old trees, conversion
of farm buildings to residences, more efficient farming
- Mix readily with House Sparrows, finches, and buntings,
particularly in Winter, so take a closer look at any flocks
you see. There may be Tree Sparrows with them!
- Remain gregarious in the breeding season, forming small
loose colonies in old farm buildings, trees with suitable
holes and even the nest of larger birds …and of
course they readily take to next boxes.
- Raise up to three broods in a good year.
- They don’t generally move far in the winter in
the UK but some European populations do migrate, and ringing
results have shown they can move considerable distances.
- The scientific name ‘ montanus ‘ suggests
a mountain bird although they are actually mainly a lowland
- The Tree Sparrow in the UK is officially a BAP ( Biodiversity
Action Plan ) and Red List species. That means they
have declined significantly and that action needs to be
taken to reverse that trend. You can help!
The Tree Sparrow still has a wide distribution through
much of Europe and across even to the Far East, but
the decline in the UK has been dramatic over
the last 40 years – more than 50% in many places!
Currently showing some recent population improvements
in some areas in the UK, probably due to conservation
measures, but a long way to go.
You can help!
Our regular Newsletter contains
lots more information, and it’s free!
Just in case there is any confusion TreeSparrows.com
was created for the Eurasian Tree Sparrows Passer
montanus and not the American Tree Sparrow Spizella
American Tree Sparrow is a different and not very closely
related species which has not occured
in the UK. However Eurasian Tree Sparrow does occur
in the USA as an introduced
and successful breeding species. I hope that's cleared
up any confusion!
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