Passer domesticus biblicus Hartert, 1910 ♂
Common names: House Sparrow [En], Moineau domestique [Fr], Huismus [Nl], Haussperling [De], Passera d’Italia, Passera europea, Passero domestico [It], Copetón Europeo, Corbatita, Estornino rosado, Gorrión [Es], Σπιτοσπουργίτης, Σπουργίτης, Στρούθος [Gr], Evcil Serçe, Serçe [Tu]
IUCN Status: LC (Least Concern)
Dalyan, MUĞLA ● Turkey
Description: A small bird, it has a typical length of 16 cm. It is a compact bird with a full chest and a large rounded head. Its bill is stout and conical bill with a culmen length of 1.1–1.5 cm, strongly built as an adaptation for eating seeds. Its tail is short, at 5.2–6.5 cm long. Females usually are slightly smaller than males.
The sexes exhibit strong dimorphism: the female is mostly buffish above and below, while the male has boldly coloured head markings, a reddish back, and grey underparts. The male has a dark grey crown from the top of its bill to its back, and chestnut brown flanking its crown on the sides of its head. It has black around its bill, on its throat, and on the spaces between its bill and eyes (lores). It has a small white stripe between the lores and crown and small white spots immediately behind the eyes (postoculars), with black patches below and above them. The underparts are pale grey or white, as are the cheeks, ear coverts, and stripes at the base of the head. The upper back and mantle are a warm brown, with broad black streaks, while the lower back, rump and uppertail coverts are greyish-brown. The male's bill is black in the breeding season and horn (dark grey) during the rest of the year.
The female has no black markings or grey crown. Its upperparts and head are brown with darker streaks around the mantle and a distinct pale supercilium. Its underparts are pale grey-brown. The female's bill is brownish-grey, and becomes darker in breeding plumage, approaching the black of the male's bill.
Juveniles are similar to the adult female but deeper brown below and paler above, with paler and less defined supercilia and broader buff feather edges.
There is some variation in the twelve subspecies of House Sparrow, which are divided into two groups, the Oriental indicus group, and the Palaearctic domesticus group.
• P. d. balearoibericus von Jordans, 1923 – Balearic Islands, southern France, Balkans, Anatolia.
• P. d. biblicus Hartert, 1910 – Middle East from Cyprus and southeastern Turkey to the Sinai in the west and from Azerbaijan to Kuwait in the east.
• P. d. domesticus Linnaeus, 1758 – Most of Europe, across northern Asia to Sakhalin and Kamchatka. It is the most widely introduced subspecies.
• P. d. niloticus Nicoll and Bonhote, 1909 – Egypt, along the Nile north of Wadi Halfa, Sudan, Somaliland. It intergrades with bibilicus in the Sinai, and with rufidorsalis in a narrow zone around Wadi Halfa.
• P. d. persicus Zarudny and Kudashev, 1916 – western and central Iran south of the Alborz mountains, intergrading with indicus in eastern Iran, and Afghanistan.
• P. d. tingitanus Loche, 1867 – Maghreb from Ajdabiya in Libya to Béni Abbès in Algeria, and to Morocco’s Atlantic coast. It hybridises extensively with the Spanish Sparrow, especially in the eastern part of its range.
• P. d. bactrianus Zarudny and Kudashev, 1916 – From Southern Kazakhstan to the Tian Shan and northern Iran and Afghanistan. It intergrades with persicus in Baluchistan and with indicus across central Afghanistan. Unlike most other House Sparrow subspecies, it is almost entirely migratory.
• P. d. hufufae Ticehurst and Cheeseman, 1924 – northeastern Arabia.
• P. d. hyrcanus Zarudny and Kudashev, 1916 – along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea from Gorgan to southeastern Azerbaijan. It intergrades with persicus in the Alborz mountains, and with bibilicus to the west. It is the subspecies with the smallest range.
• P. d. indicus Jardine and Selby, 1831 – Indian subcontinent south of the Himalayas, Sri Lanka, western Southeast Asia, eastern Iran, and southwestern Arabia as far as southern Israel.
• P. d. parkini Whistler, 1920 – western Himalayas from the Pamir Mountains to southeastern Nepal. It is migratory, like bactrianus.
• P. d. rufidorsalis C. L. Brehm, 1855 - Nile valley from Wadi Halfa south to northern South Sudan and in eastern Sudan, northern Ethiopia to the Red Sea coast in Eritrea.
Biology: It feeds mostly on the seeds of grains and weeds, but it is an opportunistic eater and commonly eats insects and many other foods.
The House Sparrow is a very social bird. It is gregarious at all seasons when feeding, often forming flocks with other types of bird.
The House Sparrow's flight is direct (not undulating) and flapping, averaging 45.5 kilometres per hour. Most House Sparrows do not move more than a few kilometres during their lifetime. However, there is limited migration in all regions. Some young birds disperse long distances, especially on coasts, and mountain birds move to lower elevations in winter. Two subspecies, bactrianus and parkini, are predominately migratory.
The House Sparrow is monogamous, and typically mates for life. Birds from pairs often engage in extra-pair copulations, so about 15% of House Sparrow fledglings are unrelated to their mother's mate. Many birds do not find a nest and a mate, and instead may serve as helpers around the nest for mated pairs, a role which increases the chances of being chosen to replace a lost mate. Lost mates of both sexes can be replaced quickly during the breeding season.
Nests are most frequently built in the eaves and other crevices of houses. Holes in cliffs and banks, or in tree hollows are also used. Clutches usually comprise four or five eggs. At least two clutches are usually laid, and up to seven a year may be laid in the tropics or four a year in temperate latitudes. Eggs hatch at the same time, after a short incubation period lasting 11–14 days. Young House Sparrows typically remain in the nest for 11 to 23 days.
Only about 20–25% of birds hatched survive to their first breeding season. In adult House Sparrows, annual survival is 45–65%.
Its predators include domestic cats, hawks, owls, and many other predatory birds and mammals.
The House Sparrow is host to a huge number of parasites and diseases, including Salmonella and Escherichia coli.
Habitat: The House Sparrow is strongly associated with human habitations, and can live in urban or rural settings. They are believed to have become associated with humans around 10,000 years ago. Though found in widely varied habitats and climates, it typically avoids extensive woodlands, grasslands, and deserts away from human development. It tolerates a variety of climates, but prefers drier conditions, especially in moist tropical climates.
Distribution: Native to most of Europe, the Mediterranean region, and much of Asia. Its intentional or accidental introductions to many regions, including parts of Australia, Africa, and the Americas, make it the most widely distributed wild bird.
Protection: The House Sparrow has an extremely large range and population, and is not seriously threatened by human activities, so it is assessed as Least Concern for conservation on the IUCN Red List. However, populations have been declining in many parts of the world.
Wikipedia, House Sparrow
Encyclopedia of Life, Passer domesticus