British wildlife recordings

Passer domesticus : House Sparrow - Ploceidae

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  • Shelf mark

    W1CDR0001537 BD13

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  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    Cowley, Gloucestershire: OS Grid Reference(396500,214500)

  • Recordist

    Williams, Aubrey John

  • Species

    House Sparrow, Passer domesticus

  • Description

    Call and song uttered by a house sparrow recorded at Cowley, Gloucestershire. There are few birds so intricately linked with humans as the house sparrow. They are small but robust and the male's grey crown and black bib easily separates it from the much plainer female and other member of the same family, the tree sparrow. It has learnt to exploit any nook or cranny in buildings or hedges, and being a social species, nests in colonies and spends the winter in single-species flocks. The house sparrow usually feeds on or near the ground where it eats seeds from a variety of plants, and has even adapted to eat from hanging bird feeders. When feeding chicks however, it always transfers to a diet of protein-rich insects and caterpillars. Pairs stay together for life but males will be unfaithful if the opportunity presents itself. Males make their presence felt with a constant and monotonous chirping that historically was an incredibly familiar sound around many homes, but over the last 25 years has become a very uncommon call in Britain's towns and cities. There is still no adequate explanation for the recent calamitous decline of the house sparrow, but its disappearance may well be related to a combination of changes in habitat, loss of food sources, and lack of suitable nesting sites.

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