House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

A small brownish bird with gray/brown breast, rusty cap and black facemask sits on a snow-covered tree.

Gordon Dietzman

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The house sparrow is one of the introduced species that has succeeded greatly in North America. The species is native to Britain, northern Scandinavia, and northern Siberia to northern Africa, Arabia, India, and Burma.

The number of house sparrows in North America is estimated at approximately 150,000,000 birds, but the Breeding Bird Survey data indicates that the population is declining. House sparrows are common throughout the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, with most being found around areas of human activity, such as farms and cities.

This invasive species vigorously competes with our native bluebirds for nesting cavities and will destroy eggs and nests of these more desirable birds.


  • Key ID Features: Male shown in photograph. Female is more uniformly brown and streaked above.
  • Present in Park: Year round. Check near agricultural farm buildings in rural parts of the park and in the urban areas of cities for house sparrows.
  • Habitat: Cities and farms.
  • Voice: Chirps. Listen

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