Passer luteus


[pas-er, pah-ser]

Passer is a genus of Old World sparrows. Most of its members are found naturally in open habitats in the warmer climates of Africa and southern Eurasia. Several species have adapted to human habitation, and this has enabled the House Sparrow in particular, invariably in close association with man, to extend its Eurasian range well beyond what was probably its original home in the Middle East.

Apart from this semi-natural colonisation, the House Sparrow has been introduced to many parts of the world outside its natural range, including the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa and Australia. The Tree Sparrow has also been artificially introduced on a smaller scale, and there are populations in Australia and locally in Missouri and Illinois in the United States.

Passer sparrows build an untidy nest, which, depending on species and nest site availability, may be in a bush or tree, a natural hole in a tree, in a building or in thatch, or in the fabric of the nest of species such as the White Stork. The clutch of up to eight eggs is incubated by both parents typically for 12-14 days, with another 14-24 more days to fledging.

These sparrows are small passerine birds, typically 10-20 cm long. They are plump brown or greyish birds often with black, yellow or white markings, and with short tails and stubby conical beaks. They are gregarious and will form substantial flocks, and some, though not the House Sparrow, have pleasant songs.

Passer sparrows are primarily ground-feeding seed-eaters, though they also consume small insects especially when breeding. A few species like the House Sparrow and Grey-headed Sparrow scavenge for food around cities, and are almost omnivorous.

Species list


  • Barlow, Wacher and Disley, Birds of The Gambia ISBN 1-873403-32-1
  • Clement, Harris and Davis, Finches and Sparrows ISBN 0-7136-8017-2
  • ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. 2nd edition, Comstock Publishing.
  • Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, Birds of India ISBN 0-691-04910-6
  • Hilty, Birds of Venezuela by, ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
  • King, Woodcock and Dickinson,Birds of South-East Asia, ISBN 0-00-219206-3
  • Mullarney, Svensson, Zetterstrom and Grant, Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0-00-219728-6
  • Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
  • Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palearctic
  • "National Geographic" Field Guide to the Birds of North America ISBN 0-7922-6877-6

External links

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