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House Sparrow
Passer domesticus
Order
PASSERIFORMES
– Family
PASSERIDAE
Authors: Lowther, Peter E., and Calvin L. Cink
Revisors: Lowther, Peter E.

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Welcome to BNA Online, the leading source of life history information for North American breeding birds. This free, courtesy preview is just the first of 14 articles that provide detailed life history information including Distribution, Migration, Habitat, Food Habits, Sounds, Behavior and Breeding. Written by acknowledged experts on each species, there is also a comprehensive bibliography of published research on the species.

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Introduction

Adult male House Sparrow, non-breeding plumage
Figure 1. Distribution of the House Sparrow in N. America.

The House Sparrow is one of a few species introduced in North America with great success.   Introductions elsewhere, its own adaptability, and a preference for habitats modified by humans have made this species well known and generally common, with a nearly worldwide distribution.   Although often considered a nuisance species and an agricultural pest, the House Sparrow has proven well-suited for studies of general biological problems such as evolutionary mechanisms, temperature metabolism, and pest control.  For these reasons, it has been studied intensively and is the subject of an immense literature, to which Summers-Smith (1963, 1988) and Anderson (2006) provide an introduction.  International Studies on Sparrows, published irregularly by the Committee for Ecology, Polish Academy of Sciences, has had 14 contributions to a containing “Bibliography of the genus Passer,” which now totals over 4,800 entries.  In this account we have emphasized North American works.  As a brief selection of the variety of more recent studies of this species, see work by Murphy (1978a) and Weddle (2000) on breeding biology, Gavett and Wakely (1986) on diet, Liker and Barta (2001) and Whitekiller et al. (2000) on behavior and Selander and Johnston (1966) on evolution.