- History and Culture
One of the most widely present wild birds in urban and peri urban areas Passer domesticus is a bird of the sparrow Passeridae family. Locally known as Mwano, it measures on average 16 centimeters. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with females and young birds having a brown and grey pelage and males having more distinctive black, white and brown markings. The house sparrow has become strongly associated with human habitation and is frequently persecuted as an agricultural pest.
It is believed that the house sparrow was originally found in the Middle East and spread with agriculture to most of Eurasia and parts of North Africa. Shipborne and natural dispersal as well as deliberate introductions are responsible for its introduction to the rest of the world. House sparrows feed mainly on vegetable material, particularly seeds of grasses, cultivated cereals and low herbs, but also buds, berries as well as a wide range of household scraps. It is a gregarious species, forming flocks at times with other species of birds, roosting communally, and engaging in other social activities such as bathing in dust or water and singing together. House sparrows typically form monogamous pairs, with males attracting females by starting nest construction and calling and/or making displays. The pairs build their nest from dried vegetation, feathers, string and paper. A clutch of one to eight eggs are laid at any time in the nesting period and a pair may have up to four clutches per nesting season. Both males and females incubate the eggs for 10 to 14 days at intervals of a few minutes each.
The house sparrow is the most widely present wild bird, and on all continents except Antarctica. It is therefore considered as a species of ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List. At the intersection of urban settlements and agricultural areas they are found in particularly high densities where they may evict native birds from their nests and out-compete them for resources and are therefore considered a pest or invasive species. Nevertheless, their population has been declining, most notably in Western Europe, where their decline is attributed to a lack of availability of invertebrate food sources necessary for feeding the young.
 BirdLife International. 2017. Passer domesticus (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T103818789A111172035. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T103818789A111172035.en. Downloaded on 11 July 2018.
 Global Invasive Species Database (2018) Species profile: Passer domesticus. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=420 on 11-07-2018.
Due to its abundance, ease to raise and general lack of fear towards humans, the House Sparrow has proved to be an excellent model organism for many avian biological studies. To date, there have been almost 5,000 scientific papers published with the house sparrow as the study species.
BirdLife International. 2017. Passer domesticus (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T103818789A111172035. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T103818789A111172035.en. Downloaded on 11 July 2018.
Global Invasive Species Database (2018) Species profile: Passer domesticus. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=420 on 11-07-2018.