House sparrow perched on a fence post (c) Paul Cooper

House sparrow

House sparrows are perhaps the most cosmopolitan of all birds, and have lived alongside humans since the Stone Age. These small, streaky-brown birds were once a very common sight in the United Kingdom. Sadly, they are now rather rare, their numbers having declined at an alarming rate over the past 25 years. House sparrows are very sociable, nesting colonially in crevices, holes and boxes, and even evicting swallows and martins from their nests. They breed so rapidly, their eggs were once believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac.

Did you know?
A house sparrow's retina has 400,000 photoreceptors per square millimetre.

All you need to know about British birds.

Scientific name: Passer domesticus

Rank: Species

Common names:

English sparrow

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Map showing the distribution of the House sparrow taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The House sparrow can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, China, Europe, Indian subcontinent, Mediterranean, Russia, South America, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the House sparrow distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Perching birds
  6. Passeridae
  7. Passer
  8. House sparrow

BBC News about House sparrow

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