Passer domesticus, House Sparrow, Burunggereja Rumah

Written by on November 19, 2010 in Indonesia Bird with 0 Comments

Passer domesticus, House Sparrow, Burunggereja Rumah

The House SparroPasser domesticus, House Sparrow, Burunggereja Rumahw (Passer domesticus) is a member of the Old World sparrow family Passeridae, considered by some to be a relative of the Weaver Finch Family.It occurs naturally in most of Europe and much of Asia. It has also followed humans all over the world and has been intentionally or accidentally introduced to most of the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, New Zealand and Australia as well as urban areas in other parts of the world. It is now the most widely distributed wild bird on the planet. In the United States it is also colloquially known as the English Sparrow to distinguish it from native species. In German-American communities, it is usually referred to as the Spatzie or Spotsie.


A number of geographic races are named. They are differentiated on the basis of size and colour of the cheeks (grey in the west and white in the east) and the shades of the colouration particularly of the chestnut areas in the males. Birds of the western part of their native range are larger than those in the tropical South Asian populations.

* domesticus Europe
* persicus Zarudny and Kudaschev, 1916) (type locality, Karun River, Khuzistan).
* biblicus Hartert, 1910 (type locality, Sueme, Palestine) found in Palestine and Syria are paler and the colour of the chestnut area are not deep. The cheek is grey.
* hyrcanus Zarudny and Kudaschev, 1916 (type locality, Astrabad) southern Caspian from Talych in Transcaucasia to Gurgan (formerly Astrabad).
* bactrianus Zarudny and Kudaschev, Zarudny and Kudaschev 1916 (type locality, Tashkent) Turkestan, Afghanistan.
* semiretschieensis 1916 (type locality, according to Hartert, Djarkent and Verni). Semiryechensk Mountains in the eastern part of Russian Turkestan. Said to be like domesticus but lighter.
* parkini Whistler, 1920 (type locality, Srinagar, Kashmir) western Himalayas to Nepal (larger and more chestnut than indicus)
* indicus Jardine and Selby, 1831 found in India south of the Himalayas and Sri Lanka. This includes a race enigmaticus that is no longer recognized.

Distribution and habitat

The House Sparrow is native to Europe, Asia, and parts of North Africa, but it has spread throughout the globe since the middle of the nineteenth century. It was introduced to North America when a group of one hundred birds from England was released in Brooklyn, New York, and today its range is spread from northern British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada and down through most of the United States through Central America. The northern border of its range fluctuates between sixty and seventy degrees latitude. In the southern hemisphere, all continents have been settled with the exception of tropical South America and Antarctica, although western Australia has attempted to prevent it from settling there. It is most commonly found in agricultural, urban, or suburban areas, and avoids unmodified areas such as woodlands, forests, grasslands, and deserts. The House Sparrow has been known to evict native bird species from their nests.

This 14 to 16 cm long bird is abundant in temperate climates, but not universally common, and is scarce in many hilly districts. In cities, towns and villages, even around isolated farms, it can be the most abundant bird.

The male House Sparrow has a grey crown, cheeks and underparts, black on the throat, upper breast and between the bill and eyes. The bill in summer is blue-black, and the legs are brown. In winter the plumage is dulled by pale edgings, and the bill is yellowish brown. The black throat patch on the males is variable in size, and the size of that patch or badge is correlated with the aggressiveness, suggesting that it is a signal to show dominance in a social situation.[8] The female has no black on head or throat, nor a grey crown; her upperparts are streaked with brown. The juveniles are deeper brown, and the white is replaced by buff; the beak is pink to dull yellow. The House Sparrow is often confused with the smaller and more slender Tree Sparrow, which, however, has a chestnut and not grey crown, two distinct wing bars, and a black patch on each cheek.

The House Sparrow is gregarious at all seasons in its nesting colonies, when feeding and in communal roosts. Although the Sparrows’ young are fed on the larvae of insects, often destructive species, this species eats seeds, including grain where it is available. In spring, flowers ? especially those with yellow colours ? are often eaten; crocuses, primroses and aconites seem to attract the house sparrow most. The bird will also hunt butterflies.

The Sparrow’s most common call is a short and incessant chirp. It also has a double call note phillip which originated the now obsolete name of “phillip sparrow”. While the young are in their nests, the older birds utter a long churr. At least three broods are reared in the season.
[edit] Reproduction

The nesting site is varied; under eaves, in holes in masonry or rocks, in ivy or creepers on houses or banks, on the sea-cliffs, or in bushes in bays and inlets. When built in holes or ivy, the nest is an untidy litter of straw and rubbish, abundantly filled with feathers. Large, well-constructed domed nests are often built when the bird nests in trees or shrubs, especially in rural areas.

The House Sparrow is quite aggressive in usurping the nesting sites of other birds, often forcibly evicting the previous occupants, and sometimes even building a new nest directly on top of another active nest with live nestlings. House Martins, Bluebirds, and Sand Martins are especially susceptible to this behavior. However, though this tendency has occasionally been observed in its native habitats (particularly concerning House Martins), it appears to be far more common in habitats in which it has been introduced, such as North America.

Five to six eggs, profusely dusted, speckled or blotched with black, brown or ash-grey on a blue-tinted or creamy white ground, are usual types of the very variable eggs. They are variable in size and shape as well as markings. Eggs are incubated by the female. The House Sparrow has the shortest incubation period of all the birds: 10-12 days, and a female can lay 25 eggs a summer in New England.

The reproductive success increases with age and this is mainly by changes in timing, with older birds breeding earlier in the season.
[edit] As an invasive species

The House Sparrow has been introduced into Sub-Saharan Africa, North and South America, Australia, many islands of the Caribbean, China, Greenland, Hawaii, Iceland, and New Zealand and they have proliferated with devastating consequences to many native bird species that are still under study.[10]
A female in Australia

House sparrows were introduced to Australia between 1863 and 1870. They were released first in Victoria and then to other areas including Sydney, Brisbane, and Hobart. They quickly became a major pest throughout eastern Australia, but have been prevented from establishing themselves in Western Australia where every found specimen is deliberately destroyed.

The large North American population is descended from birds deliberately imported from Britain in the late 19th century. They were introduced independently in a number of American cities in the years between 1850 and 1875 to control pests. The mistake was realized after they were well established and by 1883 they were already considered pests and their introduction a disaster.

While declining somewhat in their adopted homeland, House Sparrows are one of the most abundant birds in North America, with a population estimated at approximately 150 million in the 1940s.
Feeding a chick

In the United States and Canada, the House Sparrow is one of only three birds (the other two being the European Starling and the Rock Pigeon) not protected by law. These three introduced species are now each more widespread and common on the continent than are any other birds. House Sparrows kill adult bluebirds and other native cavity nesters and their young, smash their eggs, and take over their nesting sites,[15] and as such are major factors in the decline of bluebirds and other native cavity nesters in North America.[16]

Because the House Sparrow is smaller than the less aggressive native birds with which it competes, it is impossible to keep them out of nest boxes built for many native birds. Attempts to counter the effects of the House Sparrow on native bird populations include the trapping and shooting of adults and the destruction of their nests and eggs.

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