This article is about
the Old World sparrows in the family Passeridae. The closely related
finches of the equatorial regions and Australasia are often also
classed as members of the Passeridae: for these see estrildid
finch. American sparrows are not closely related, and these are
placed in the family Emberizidae along with the buntings. The
Hedge Sparrow or Dunnock (Prunella modularis) is a sparrow in
name only, a relic of the medieval practice by which any small
bird was called "sparrow". Sparrows are small passerine
birds. There are 35 species in the Old World sparrow family Passeridae.
The differences between different species of sparrow can be very
subtle; in general, sparrows tend to be small plump brownish or
greyish birds with short tails and short powerful beaks.
Sparrows are seed-eaters, and they also consume small insects.
A few species scavenge for food around cities, and like seagulls
they will happily eat virtually anything in small quantities.
Old World sparrows are found naturally in Europe, Africa and Asia.
They do not occur naturally in Australia or the Americas, but
the early settlers imported some species into these continents,
and they quickly naturalised, particularly in urban and degraded
areas. House Sparrows are now found throughout North America,
in every state of Australia except for Western Australia, and
over much of heavily populated parts of South America. Eurasian
Tree Sparrows are also present, but unlike the House Sparrow,
are not a serious pest.
Above Images From The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service