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(Eurasian) Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow
Both sexes: Streaked brown and black upperparts, chocolate brown crown, black smudge on cheeks.

The Tree Sparrow is smaller and less stocky than the House Sparrow.

Males and females are alike and have a chocolate brown crown and white neck band or collar. Their white cheeks have a black smudge and they have a small neat black bib. The back and wings are a mixture of warm shades of brown and the underparts are pale grey-brown. The black bill is small with a yellow base. The legs are pale brown.

Juveniles are similar to adults but duller.

In flight, the Tree Sparrow has two white wing bars whereas the House Sparrow has only one.

Tree Sparrow
Tree Sparrow
Tree Sparrow
Tree Sparrow

Scientific Name Passer montanus
Length 14 cm  (5½")
Wing Span 20-22 cm  (8-9")
Weight 19-25 g  (¾ oz)
Breeding Pairs 100000
Present All Year
Status Red

Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.


The Tree Sparrow has a song similar to the House Sparrow but it is a bit more cheerful.


© Jean Roché,


The Tree Sparrow lives in open woodland, orchards and hedgerows and so feeds mostly on seeds of grasses, weeds and cereals, such as barley and wheat. They also feed on insects, like aphids, caterpillars, flies and beetles.

They will visit bird tables for seed.


A pair of Tree Sparrows will mate for life.

The Tree Sparrows' nest is made from twigs and leaves and lined with down, moss and hair, built by both birds in a hole in a tree, cliff, or building, or use a nest box. The nest may be a domed structure or a simple cup.

The eggs are about 19 mm by 14 mm. They are smooth and glossy, and white to pale grey with dark brown markings. Both adult birds share the duty of incubating the eggs as well as feeding the altricial young once they have hatched.

Breeding Starts Clutches Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
April 2-3 2-9 11-14 12-14


Juveniles disperse from their natal sites but otherwise they are sedentary. Some continental birds winter in Britain.


The breeding population has declined by more than 50% in recent times and so the Tree Sparrow appears on the Red List of birds of high conservation concern.