House sparrow call consists of various chirping calls. Typical are a strong ‘cheee-ep’, a looser ‘chissick’ and a monotonous ‘chip’. The male gives a deep rattling trilled version of their call ‘churr-r-r-it-it-it-it’ when excited, sometimes female used this sound in the breeding process.
In-flight also gives a short ‘chveet’ or ‘churrip’ (quite unlike Eurasian Tree Sparrow’s flight call). House sparrow song is merely a repeated, excited series of chirps and ‘chissicks’. House sparrow nasal alarm call recorded as quer and shrill chree from great distress.
The displaying birds are noisy, with much chasing of potential partners. Therefore the flight is fast and direct, with almost whirring wings, although very gently undulating when flying high over longer distances. Sometimes in a relaxing environment, the house sparrow gives the appeasement call, normally a soft quee.
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a familiar bird of human habitation almost throughout any region in the world. There are two distinct populations. The adult male sparrow is easily identified by a combination of pale, dingy grey-white, underparts, whitish sides of the head, warm brown upperparts with dark streaking, grayish rump, black bib (extending to the upper breast), and grey forehead-crown bordered with maroon-chestnut.
However the winter male bird in fresh plumage in autumn has a black bib restricted to the chin and upper throat and yellowish (not black) bill; forehead and crown can look dull grayish-brown when very fresh, and maroon-chestnut nape and stripe through the eye are tinged with buff, so head pattern much less clean-cut.
The adult female bird and juvenile are nondescript dull brown birds, with pale underparts, lacking prominent markings. However, they have distinguished themselves from other brown finch-like birds by a combination of lack of white in the outer tail, unstreaked dull underparts, weak but distinctive supercilium, and relatively bulky appearance to head and bill. The confusion is, though, possible with other members of the genus (q.v.), many of which show similar features.
Adult male differs from typical House Sparrow in having crown and nape wholly chestnut, lacking grey crown center (but note that in new autumn plumage dull buffish feather fringes make crown appear a little duller and even paler-centered). In addition, it is a brighter bird overall than summer male House, having whiter sides of head like Spanish but restricted black bib as in House.
The adult female and young bird are intermediate between adult female/juvenile House and Spanish, and consequently unlikely to be distinguishable from either in the field. Behavior is much like House, but although a town and city bird it is also at home in the countryside away from habitation (and thus more like Spanish in this respect).
House sparrow feeds on the ground, hopping around and flicking tails, flying to perch in bushes or on buildings when disturbed. Quite pugnacious, even chasing other birds, especially Collared Doves. See other members of genus Passer, Rock Sparrow, and also female Common Rosefinch.
The winter male bird is a bit duller, with restricted black on the throat. However the young bird resembles the adult female, but when recently fledged shows a yellowish gape. By first autumn and winter, young males show blackish chins and are indistinguishable from an adult male in winter.
House, Italian and Spanish Sparrows are very closely related; they could be considered as three separate species, but Italian is normally included within House, although many authorities now consider it to be closer to Spanish. Italian seems not to have reached a specific level to the same degree as Spanish, which overlaps widely in range with House with only limited hybridization.
Marked six races (nominate and italiae illustrated). Only italiae (‘Italian Sparrow’, described above) is distinctly different from nominate race. This form, which is now often referred to as ‘hybrid form x italiae’ rather than as P. d. italiae, is resident in the Italian peninsula, S Switzerland, Corsica, and Crete (with similar-looking populations in NW Africa), and has presumably arisen as a hybrid population between House and Spanish Sparrows.
Birds resembling Italian Sparrows may occur elsewhere as a result of hybridization between these two closely related species. There is a narrow zone of hybridization with nominating race of House Sparrow along southern foothills of Alps and on Rhodes, and in Sicily and extreme southern Italy and it hybridizes with the Spanish Sparrow. Elsewhere on certain Mediterranean islands such as Malta, the sparrow populations are probably entirely of hybrid origin, the true characters of the parent species having been bred out.
Often hybridizes locally with Spanish Sparrow, occasionally with Eurasian Tree Sparrow, producing offspring with intermediate or mixed characters. Often hybridizes locally with Spanish Sparrow. ‘Italian Sparrow’ replaces the typical House Sparrow in mainland Italy and elsewhere in the Mediterranean.
Members of this stabilized hybrid population between House and Spanish Sparrows are intermediate in character (indeed, hybrids between the two species elsewhere are very much like Italian Sparrow).
House sparrow is a common gregarious bird and around any form of habitation, from city centers to desert oases, including farms and isolated buildings. Sometimes stray well away from buildings when feeding. House sparrow is sociable, forming large flocks after breeding to feed in fields and around farms. Often breeds in loose colonies, usually in buildings but also large untidy nests in trees.
House sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a small and common bird with a size of 14-14.5 cm in length.
Related Reading – Dead Sea Sparrow