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.
- Saxaul Sparrow, Passer ammodendri
- House Sparrow, Passer domesticus
- Spanish Sparrow, Passer hispaniolensis
- Sind Sparrow, Passer pyrrhonotus
- Somali Sparrow, Passer castanopterus
- Cinnamon Sparrow or Russet Sparrow, Passer rutilans
- Pegu Sparrow or Plain-backed Sparrow, Passer flaveolus
- Dead Sea Sparrow, Passer moabiticus
- Rufous Sparrow, Passer motitensis
- Socotra Sparrow, Passer insularis
- Iago Sparrow or Cape Verde Sparrow, Passer iagoensis
- Cape Sparrow or Mossie, Passer melanurus
- Grey-headed Sparrow, Passer griseus
- Swainson's Sparrow, Passer swainsonii
- Parrot-billed Sparrow, Passer gongonensis
- Swaheli Sparrow, Passer suahelicus
- Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, Passer diffusus
- Desert Sparrow, Passer simplex
- Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus
- Sudan Golden Sparrow, Passer luteus
- Arabian Golden Sparrow, Passer euchlorus
- Chestnut Sparrow, Passer eminibey
- Italian Sparrow, Passer italiae
- Kenya Rufous Sparrow, Passer rufocinctus
- Kordofan Rufous Sparrow, Passer cordofanicus
- Shelley's Rufous Sparrow, Passer shelleyi
- Asian Desert Sparrow, Passer zarudnyi
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