Tree Sparrow

Passer montanus


Tree Sparrows are scarce birds of farmland, hedgerows and woodland edges and are not associated with man in the way that the House Sparrow is in the UK. Tree Sparrows mate for life; they nest in holes in trees and can produce two or three broods a year, each containing up to seven eggs. They eat seeds, weeds, cereals and also insects.

How to identify

Male and female Tree Sparrows look the same, with chestnut-brown crowns, chestnut backs, buff undersides, white cheeks and a black cheek-spot. They can be distinguished from the male House Sparrows by the brown cap, instead of grey, and by presence of the black cheek-spot.

Where to find it

Widespread in England, southern Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Once a common bird of farmland and grassland habitats, the Tree Sparrow is declining at an alarming rate - populations have decreased by 97% over the past 40 years in England alone. Changing agricultural practices and urbanisation have taken their toll. But The Wildlife Trusts are helping to protect Tree Sparrows by working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices. We are working towards a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Tree Sparrow
Latin name
Passer montanus
Larks, sparrows, wagtails and dunnock
Length: 14cm Wingspan: 21cm Weight: 24g Average Lifespan: 2 years
Conservation status
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Classified in the UK as a Red List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.