Passer domesticus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Passeridae

Scientific Name: Passer domesticus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English House Sparrow
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Taxonomic Notes: Passer domesticus and P. italiae (del Hoyo and Collar 2016) were previously lumped as P. domesticus following AERC TAC (2003); AOU (1998 and supplements); Christidis and Boles (2008); Cramp et al. (1977-1994); Dowsett and Forbes-Watson (1993); SACC (2005 and updates); Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993); Stotz et al. (1996); Turbott (1990).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Ashpole, J & Derhé, M.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Passer domesticus has an extremely large range and occurs in most parts of the world.
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Belarus; Belgium; Bhutan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Cambodia; Cape Verde; China; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Egypt; Eritrea; Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Guadeloupe; Hungary; Iceland; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Latvia; Lebanon; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Myanmar; Nepal; Netherlands; Nigeria; Norway; Oman; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Peru; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation (Central Asian Russia, Eastern Asian Russia, European Russia); Saudi Arabia; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Somalia; South Sudan; Spain (Canary Is.); Sri Lanka; Sudan; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Thailand; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Uzbekistan; Yemen
Anguilla; Argentina; Aruba; Australia; Bahamas; Belize; Bermuda; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; Brazil; British Indian Ocean Territory; Canada; Cayman Islands; Chile; Colombia; Comoros; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Lesotho; Malawi; Maldives; Mauritius; Mexico; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Puerto Rico; Réunion; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Senegal; Seychelles; Singapore; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States; Uruguay; Vanuatu; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.; Zimbabwe
Japan; Viet Nam
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:76600000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):4500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population is estimated to number > c.540,000,000 individuals (Rich et al. 2004). However the European population is estimated at 134,000,000-196,000,000 pairs, which equates to 269,000,000-392,000,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms approximately 30% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 896,000,000-1,310,000,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. National population sizes have been estimated at c.100-100,000 breeding pairs in China and c.100-100,000 breeding pairs in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Trend Justification:  In Europe, trends between 1980 and 2013 show that populations have undergone a moderate decline (EBCC 2015).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:800000000-1399999999Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is often associated with man, living around buildings from isolated farms to urban centres and showing a preference for suburbs. In the south of its range it is more frequently found in open country, and has been recorded as breeding in small isolated colonies away from humans. In Central Asia and Afghanistan, the species is mainly a summer visitor, where it is confined to open country in the area of overlap with resident P. montanus; farther north, in Siberia, the two species live side by side in built-up areas. It breeds from February to September, although timing varies with latitude. It breeds in loose colonies and nests are constructed mainly of plant stems, lined with feathers or other soft material. Its preferred site is a hole in a building, cliff or tree. Clutches are two to five eggs. The diet is mainly vegetable material, particularly seeds of grasses, cultivated cereals and low herbs, but also buds, berries and wide range of household scraps. It does take some animal matter (c. 10% of the diet in summer months). The species is mostly resident with some limited withdrawal of populations breeding at high latitudes and altitudes to less cold areas in winter (Summers-Smith et al. 2015).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):6
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Declines in western Europe have been attributed to a decrease in availability of suitable invertebrate food necessary for rearing young as well as possible reduced fitness of those young that fledge successfully (Summers-Smith et al. 2015). This may be as a result of changes in agricultural practices such as the increased use of pesticides and herbicides and the autumn sowing of cereals which have lead to decreases in food for this species (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The species was Red-listed in the U.K. in 2002 and listed as Near-threatened in Germany as a result of declines (Summers-Smith et al. 2015).

Conservation Actions Proposed
The conservation and habitat enhancement of even the smallest parks and gardens may be key in addressing the decline of this species in many cities (Summers-Smith et al. 2015).

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Map revised and added Taxonomic Notes and associated references.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Passer domesticus (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T103818789A111172035. . Downloaded on 16 October 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided