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Old World Sparrows
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Passeridae

Sparrows are small passerine birds. There are 35 separate in the Old World sparrow family Passeridae. The differences between different species of sparrow can be very subtle— in general, sparrows tend to be small plump brownish or greyish birds with short tails and short powerful beaks.

Sparrows are seed-eaters, and they also consume small insects. A few species scavenge for food around cities, and like seagulls they will happily eat virtually anything in small quantities.

Old World sparrows are found in Europe, Africa and Asia. There are four genera of Old World sparrows.

Family Passeridae

  • Passer, the true sparrows
    • Saxaul Sparrow, Passer ammodendri
    • House Sparrow, Passer domesticus
    • Spanish Sparrow[?], Passer hispaniolensis
    • Sind Sparrow, Passer pyrrhonotus
    • Somali Sparrow, Passer castanopterus
    • Russet Sparrow, Passer rutilans
    • Plain-backed Sparrow, Passer flaveolus
    • Dead Sea Sparrow, Passer moabiticus
    • Cape Verde Sparrow, Passer iagoensis
    • Socotra Sparrow, Passer insularis
    • Rufous Sparrow, Passer motitensis
    • Mossie, Passer melanurus
    • Gray-headed Sparrow, Passer griseus
    • Swainson's Sparrow, Passer swainsonii
    • Parrot-billed Sparrow, Passer gongonensis
    • Swaheli Sparrow, Passer suahelicus
    • Cape 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
  • Petronia, the rock sparrows[?]
    • Yellow-spotted Petronia, Petronia pyrgita
    • Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, Petronia xanthocollis
    • Yellow-throated Petronia, Petronia superciliaris
    • Bush Petronia, Petronia dentata
    • Rock Petronia, Petronia petronia
  • Carpospiza, Pale Rockfinch
    • Pale Rockfinch, Carpospiza brachydactyla
  • Montifringilla, the snow finches[?]
    • White-winged Snowfinch, Montifringilla nivalis
    • Black-winged Snowfinch, Montifringilla adamsi
    • White-rumped Snowfinch, Montifringilla taczanowskii
    • Pere David's Snowfinch, Montifringilla davidiana
    • Rufous-necked Snowfinch, Montifringilla ruficollis
    • Blanford's Snowfinch, Montifringilla blanfordi
    • Afghan Snowfinch, Montifringilla theresae

American sparrows are in the family Emberizidae with the Old World buntings. They are not closely related to the European sparrows in the family Passeridae. Fifty-two species of mostly Emberizid sparrows have been observed breeding in North America.

Sparrows are not naturally found in Australia, but the early settlers imported them into the country and they quickly naturalised, particularly in urban and degraded areas. House Sparrows are now found in every state of Australia except for Western Australia. Tree Sparrows are also present, but unlike the House Sparrow, are not a serious pest. Asian tree sparrows occasionally arrive in Western Australia aboard cargo vessels, but so far they have been captured and removed before they could establish a breeding colony in the state.

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