House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

House Sparrow


The house sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world. It is a small bird that has a typical length of 16 cm (6.3 in) and a mass of 24–39.5 g (0.85–1.39 oz). Females and young birds are coloured pale brown and grey, and males have brighter black, white, and brown markings. One of about 25 species in the genus Passer, the house sparrow is native to most of Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, and a large part of Asia. Its intentional or accidental introductions to many regions, including parts of Australasia, Africa, and the Americas, make it the most widely distributed wild bird.

Distribution And Habitat

The House Sparrow is native to Eurasia and Africa, and has been introduced to the West Indies. It is locally common in urban areas throughout Puerto Rico, and it has spread during the last decades from the south coast through the entire coastal plain (Raffaele and others 1998). It also occurs on Vieques where it is a fairly common resident (Gemmill 2015), as well as Culebra and Mona (Ventosa-Febles and others 2005). Its habitat consists mostly of urban areas (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 584 records within 306 hexagons or 64 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 306 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 57 percent (173) of the hexagons, probable in 17 percent (53), and possible in 26 percent (80) (see map). House 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.

House Sparrow Distribution

Breeding Habits

The House Sparrow generally builds a small cup-shaped bulky nest that is often placed in trees of gardens or parks, roofs, holes in walls, light posts, pipes, or any other type of cavity in urban areas (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998). Previously published reports indicate that breeding occurs throughout the 253House Sparrow/Gorrión Domésticoyear but mostly from March to September (Raffaele and others 1998). Atlas results show that this species breeds throughout the year with the most breeding activity from March to June (see chart). Overall, the breeding activity peaks in June, and it mostly takes place within the subtropical moist forest life zone (see chart). Results (see table and map) show that this species breeds mostly within the subtropical moist forest life zone (66 percent of the hexagons) but also in the subtropical dry forest life zone (24 percent of the hexagons) and at higher elevations within the subtropical wet forest life zone (10 percent of the hexagons).


The current population trend for the House Sparrow is described as decreasing in many urban areas of Europe (De Laet and Summers-Smith 2007). This species is currently listed as a species of least concern 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 House Sparrow has a protected habitat in land of 11 percent or 826 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (7318 km2).