Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Robert T. Maytum
Photo Courtesy of Robert T. Maytum

The house sparrow, Passer domesticus, is native to Eurasia and north Africa, but has been introduced and become established in North and South America, South Africa, and Australia. In Utah, it is a permanent resident, occurring statewide in cities, towns, and ranches. The species apparently was intentionally introduced to Utah in the Salt Lake City area in the late 1800s, sources differing as to the date, stated variously as "1869" and "1873-1874." The habitat of this species is mostly human-modified situations, such as farms, residential areas, and urban areas. Its foods are mainly seeds, both of cereal grains and of weeds, although some arthropods (mainly insects) and fruits are also consumed.

The nest is normally in an artificial cavity, often inside or on a building or other structure, or in a natural cavity, such as a tree hole, but rarely may be among dense branches of a tree, up to forty feet above the ground. There are usually four to six eggs, which are incubated by the female parent for ten to thirteen days. The young, which are cared for by both parents, fledge after fourteen to seventeen days.

Despite its common name, this species is a weaver finch and is not very closely related to the many species of native sparrows of the New World. This species is popularly referred to as the "English sparrow."


  • Lowther, P. E., and C. L. Cink. House sparrow. Birds of North America 12: 1–19.

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder’s handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.