Old World Sparrows

Old World Sparrows are also known as true sparrows. In general, sparrows are small, plump, brown and gray birds that have short tails and short, powerful beaks.
A female House Sparrow looking down into the dirt for something. Female House Sparrows are more of a dull brown than male House Sparrows.
Female House Sparrow looking for something in the dirt.
NPS Photo/A. Cook

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

• House Sparrows take dust baths. They throw soil and dust all over their body feathers just like if they were bathing in water.
• They like to live around areas with people because they prefer to nest in manmade structures. These structures include: streetlights, gas station roofs, signs, and nest boxes.
• When moving House Sparrows hop instead of walking on the ground
• They are very social birds and feed in crowded groups and squabble over crumbs and seeds on the ground
• Male House Sparrows with larger amounts of black on their throats have more power than those with less black
A male House Sparrow standing in the dirt. Male House Sparrows have more of a rust colored/bright brown coloring than females.
Male House Sparrow in Lower Town Harpers Ferry.
NPS Photo/A. Cook

Identification Information:

• Size: Sparrow sized or smaller (Small)
• Color: Males are more brightly colored than the females and have gray heads, white cheeks, black chests and reddish brown backs with a little black mixed in. Females are mainly brown with gray/brown bellies. On their backs they are striped with black and brown.

Last updated: September 16, 2019

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Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
National Park Service
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry , WV 25425


304 535-6029

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