Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Passer montanus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Passeriformes
Family:Passeridae
Genus:Passer
Species:P. montanus
Common Names:Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Status:Common resident

Distribution

The Eurasian Tree Sparrow ranges from the Palaearctic, east Himalayas, Southeast Asia, Sulawesi, and Lesser Sundas. It is recently established in Borneo, Brunei and Sandakan. It is introduced in north America, Australia, New Zealand, and islands of W Pacific.

Localities

Found throughout Singapore and its offshore islands.

Locality Map

General Biology

The Eurasian tree sparrow is most familiar around houses. It regularly take sand-bath, leaving characteristic depressions in the ground. These are used and reused all the time.

The different types of calls have been recorded HERE.

It is a lowland species but in Malaysia it has been known to indulge in altitudinal migration when an immature was photographed at ASL 1600 in Cameron Highlands, probably a result of the highland getting hotter because of deforestation.

A sparrow was photographed predated by a Gold-whiskered Barbet (Megalaima chrysopogonHERE.

Diet

In its natural habitat, its typical diet is grass seeds. In the urban setting, it has developed a preference to eat food left over by humans

Fruits eaten include Celosia argentea LINK, Acalypha siamensis LINK, Clidemia hirta, Salvia splendens LINK, Dragon Fruit (Hylocereus undatusand alate termites LINK.

Life Cycle

It seems to breed year round. The nest is an untidy mass of grass, plastic strings and other man-made articles. Nests are usually found under the eaves of buildings or the crowns of palms.

An active nest was seen in Seoul, Korea in a tree hole with two chicks. 

Records

Robinson (1927) considered the Eurasian Tree Sparrow as one of the earliest introductions early in the 19th century, but Ward (1968) argued that there was no evidence to suggest that it was not already associated with the earliest primitive settlements. It probably arrived in the Malay Peninsular with the early Arab or Portuguese traders in the 15th and 16th centuries, but may only have become well established in Singapore when 19th century buildings provided nest sites (Hails, 1988). It is found as far as Raffles Lighthouse where a pair or two seem to have established themselves (Chasen, 1924).

References

Chasen, F. N. 1924. Remarks on the ornithology of the islands near Singapore. The Singapore Naturalist, 3: 22–36.

Robinson, H. C. 1927. The Birds of the Malay Peninsula. Vol. I: The Commoner Birds. H. F. & G. Witherby. London. 329 pp.

Wang, L. K. & C. J. Hails, 2007. An annotated checklist of the birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1–179.

Ward, P. 1968. Origin of the avifauna of urban and suburban Singapore. The Ibis, 110 (3): 239–255.

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