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Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Passer montanus

Length: 6 inches Wingspan: 9 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Warm brown crown and nape (male) distinguish it from the House Sparrow.  Black throat, dark cheek patch, light underparts, reddish-brown upperparst with dark streaking

Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Passer montanusThe Eurasian Tree Sparrow is indeed a native of Europe and Asia.  However, in 1870, a businessman in St. Louis, Missouri received a shipment of European birds from Germany, including 2 dozen Eurasian Tree Sparrows.  He released those sparrows in an effort to "enhance" the wildlife in the region.  While they have establish themselves in a small region around St. Louis and have thrived until the present day, they have not widely spread, like their introduced relative the House Sparrow.  In urban settings they do not compete well with House Sparrows, and they are more often found in rural settings.  Given sightings in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and other surrounding states, it is possible they are continuing to very slowly expand their range in the United States.

Habitat: Can be found in a wide range of habitats.  They have adapted well to a human presence, and are often found in suburban areas and agricultural lands.

Diet: Feeds on seeds and grains, as well as insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates.  They will also eat fruits and berries on occasion.

Behavior: Forages on the ground or low in vegetation.

Nesting: The nest is typically built in a crevice, tree cavity, or other such protected area. It is constructed of grasses, weeds, other vegetative material, and feathers.  The female lays between 3 and 6 eggs, and she and the male will both incubate them.  The young hatch after about 14 days.

Song: Various chip chip and tek tek calls

Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout their normal range.

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Eurasian Tree Sparrow sightings

Similar Species: Most likely to be confused with the House Sparrow

Feeders: Eurasian Tree Sparrows will attend feeders for the standard offered seeds, as well as for suet and fruits.

Conservation Status: The population trend globally is stable, and they are found over a very wide geographic area.  The IUCN lists the Eurasian Tree Sparrow as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) Cornell's All About Birds - Eurasian Tree Sparrow

2) Audubon Guide - Eurasian Tree Sparrow

3) Birdlife International - Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Photo Information: Photo by Francesco Veronesi - November 17th, 2014 - Kisjuszallas, Hungary - Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Eurasian Tree Sparrow Photos (coming soon!!)