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Montana Animal Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

House Sparrow - Passer domesticus

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Exotic Species (not native to Montana)

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNA

Agency Status
FWP Conservation Tier: 4

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Copyright by Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, all rights reserved.
General Description
Stout and stocky with short legs and a thick bill. Back brown with black streaking, male with gray crown, chestnut bordering crown and on nape; cheek white, black bib. Female with gray-brown crown and postocular line, pale buff supercilium, unmarked throat and breast. Tail is 3/4 of the length of the wing (Lowther and Cink 1992).

General Distribution
Montana Range

Western Hemisphere Range


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 3823

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density


(direct evidence "B")

(indirect evidence "b")

No evidence of Breeding
(transient "t")

(regular observations "W")

(at least one obs. "w")


(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)

Breeding habitat is mostly associated with human modified environments such as farms, and residential and urban areas. Absent from extensive woodlands, forests, grasslands, and deserts. During postbreeding flocking, birds move into areas farther from breeding areas (e.g. grain fields rather than farmsteads). Winter habitat is the same as breeding habitat (Lowther and Cink 1992).

Food Habits
Have been known to eat livestock feed. Grains, weed seeds, relatively few insects. Urban birds eat commercial birdseed (Lowther and Cink 1992).

This species did not occupy all of Montana until sometime between 1898 and 1908.

Reproductive Characteristics
Nest often in enclosed spaces. If they nest in trees the nest usually is a globular structure with a side entrance and may share a wall with a neighboring nest. Successful birds may have up to 4 clutches per season. Clutch size varies from 1 to 8 eggs (Lowther and Cink 1992). Young have been reported in the nest on July 4 in Gallatin County. Nesting typically begins in early April and may last to mid-September.

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Citation for data on this website:
House Sparrow — Passer domesticus.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on April 15, 2014, from
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