House (English) Sparrows

Facts, Identification and Control

Latin Name

Passer domesticus


Sparrows may be the world’s most common birds and are easily recognized by people living in urban, suburban and rural locations. Male and female house sparrows are colored differently. Males range in appearance from bright to dull in their coloration with a black bill, black face, gray heads, gray breasts and wings that are reddish with black streaks. Females generally have a buff-brown body, a gray- brown breast and a thick, yellowish bill. The easiest way to differentiate males from females is the presence of the male’s black face and the female’s yellowish bill.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

House sparrows are a relatively noisy bird that forages aggressively for food. Normally, they feed on the ground and consume seeds, grains, food crumbs and occasionally insects. They are notorious for invading bird feeders and often threaten or attack other birds. Sparrows build nests just about anywhere there are buildings or other man-made structures. In cities, they prefer to build nests in openings, holes and gaps in buildings, shop signs, traffic lights or any location where there is a protected crevice. They rarely nest in forested and grassland areas, but are common around farms where they eat spilled animal feed. House sparrows frequently reuse the nests they have built.


Sparrows reproduce between February and May, and a brood may contain up to eight eggs. The typical female house sparrow produces one to four broods per year with egg incubation lasting as long as two weeks. Baby sparrows are completely without feathers when born and have pinkish skin. Males and females feed the young through regurgitation or by feeding them small insects they’ve captured. The life expectancy of house sparrows averages about three years.

Signs of a House Sparrow Infestation

The main signs of house sparrows are the birds, their chirping, nests and droppings.

More Information

Since house sparrows are so closely associated with our buildings and other sheltered locations, it is likely that sparrows will become a problem to homeowners and business owners. If so, be sure to contact your pest management professional and request his or her assistance in developing a bird management plan. Your pest management professional can provide a comprehensive inspection and, based on the findings, can prepare an effective and efficient plan to help reduce bird-related issues.