Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The House Sparrow and The Tree Sparrow as Estonian Bird 2002

The Estonian Ornithological Society has chosen the house sparrow and the tree sparrow as birds of the year 2002.

The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a species of passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae. It occurs naturally in most of Europe, the Mediterranean region, and much of Asia. It has also been intentionally or accidentally introduced to many parts of the world, making it the most widely distributed wild bird. It is strongly associated with human habitations, but it is not the only sparrow species found near houses. It is a small bird, with feathers mostly different shades of brown and grey.

The Tree Sparrow or Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus, is a passerine bird in the sparrow family with a rich chestnut crown and nape, and a black patch on each pure white cheek.The Eurasian Tree Sparrow is 12.5–14 cm long with a wingspan of about 21 cm and a weight of 24 g making it roughly 10% smaller than the House Sparrow.

The Eurasian Tree Sparrow is widespread in the towns and cities of eastern Asia, but in Europe it is a bird of lightly wooded open countryside, with the House Sparrow breeding in the more urban areas.


The habitat of these two very common birds is mostly human-modified situations, such as farms, residential and urban areas. Their foods are mainly seeds, both of cereal grains and of weeds, although they also feed on insects and fruit.

The nest is normally in an artificial cavity, often inside or on a building or other structure, or in a natural cavity, such as a tree hole. There are usually four to ten (mostly 5-7) eggs, which the female parent incubates for ten to thirteen days. The young, which both parents care for, fledge after ten to seventeen days, with one to two brooks per summer.

Both birds are streaked brown or black on top and whitish grey below. The tree sparrow has a rufous crown on a grey head, and a dark spot in the centre of the breast. The house sparrow is an agile, lively bird, often brazen and quarrelsome.

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