Java Sparrow (Padda oryzivora)

Java Sparrow


The Java sparrow (Padda oryzivora), also known as Java finch, Java rice sparrow or Java rice bird, is a small passerine bird. This estrildid finch is a resident breeding bird in Java, Bali and Bawean in Indonesia. It is a popular cage bird, and has been introduced into many other countries. Some taxonomists place this and the Timor sparrow in their own genus Padda. The Java sparrow is about 15 to 17 cm (5.9 to 6.7 in) in length from the beak to its tip of tail feathers. Although only about the size of a house sparrow, it may be the largest species in the estrildid family. The mean body mass is 24.5 g (0.86 oz), making it slightly heavier than its nearest known rival, the black-bellied seedeater. The adult is unmistakable, with its grey upperparts and breast, pink belly, white-cheeked black head, red eye-ring, pink feet and thick red bill.


The Java sparrow is considered by some countries to be an agricultural pest with respect to rice cultivation. An ongoing loss of natural habitat, hunting in some areas and trapping (as a pest) in others has led to much smaller numbers in the wild and sightings in its natural range have become increasingly uncommon. The Java sparrow is now evaluated as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (uplisted from vulnerable in 2018) and is listed on Appendix II of CITES.[10] The species is also severely threatened by the illegal exotic pet trade as they are sought after for their distinctive song, according to TRAFFIC.[11]

Distribution And Habitat

The Java Sparrow is native to Java, Sumatra, and Bali, and has been introduced to Puerto Rico, Jamaica (Camacho Rodríguez and others 1999, Raffaele and others 1998), Hawaii, and other tropical regions (Oberle 2018). In Puerto Rico, it is established and fairly common in metropolitan San Juan (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998), and it is one of the most common bird species in Old San Juan (Oberle 2018). Habitat includes mostly urban areas with short grass and lawns with seeding grasses (Raffaele and others 1998). In its native habitat, it is considered a pest in rice fields (Oberle 2018). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 11 records within seven hexagons or 1.4 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the seven hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 43 percent (three) of the hexagons, probable in 43 percent (three), and possible in 14 percent (one) (see map).Java Sparrow distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.

Java Sparrow Distribution

Breeding Habits

Previously published reports indicate that the Java Sparrow breeds from July to February (Raffaele and others 1998). The nest is usually made of grass and is built in a crevice, window ledge (Raffaele and others 247Java Sparrow/Gorrión de Java1998), hole, or under eaves of a building (Oberle 2018). Atlas results show that this species breeds mostly from May to July and to a lesser extent during August and November, and the breeding activity peaks in May (see chart). Results show that this species breeds in the subtropical moist forest life zone (100 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The current population trend of the Java Sparrow is described as decreasing in its native range (BirdLife International 2018, Yuda 2008). This species is currently listed as Endangered by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2018). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Java Sparrow has a protected habitat in land of 5 percent or 7 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (143 km2).