Belongs to: sparrows

Compare with: house sparrow

Tree sparrow Passer montanus

BoCC Red list

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Brown-capped country cousin of the house sparrow

Habitat: for breeding, areas with old trees; in autumn and winter, stubble fields and rick-yards

Resident, still widespread across north, central and west Essex, but in severe decline


More clearly marked than house sparrow, with a chocolate crown, a neat black bib and a white half-collar; 13–14 cm

Gregarious, nesting in small, loose colonies and in winter often flocking with house sparrows, finches and buntings

Feeds mainly on seeds and some grain; also insects


Nest of dry grass and straw, usually in a tree hole but sometimes among rocks or against walls or in nestboxes

2 or 3 broods April to July; 3–5 white eggs, heavily blotched brown

© Brian Watts