Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KĊŒKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

House Sparrow

Scientific name:

 Passer domesticus



Conservation status:

 Introduced and naturalised

Mainland status:


Size:  14cm, 30g


 15+ years possibly


 September - February


 Seeds, invertebrates, fruits and nectar

This gregarious, garrulous and quarrelsome bird was introduced into New Zealand between 1866 and 1871 and is now common throughout the mainland and off shore islands in farmland, orchards, gardens, parks and the edges of native forest.

The male has chestnut brown upper parts, streaked black, a dark grey crown, greyish brown rump, greyish white underparts and a black bib which is larger in the breeding season, when the conical greyish pink bill turns black. The female has dull sandy brown, streaked darker upper parts and greyish white underparts, with a pale buffy eyebrow and sides to neck. The call is an unmusical chatter of chirps and cheeps.

House Sparrows feed in flocks, eating mainly cereal, grass and weed seeds and invertebrates, fruit and nectar. They cause serious damage to cereal crops.

Breeding takes place between September and February and 3–4 broods a year are raised. The male builds a bulky, untidy domed nest with a side entrance composed of grasses and lined with feathers, in trees, buildings or on cliffs. The clutch of 3–6 greyish white, brown spotted eggs is incubated by both sexes for 10–15 days, the male playing a lesser role than the female. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge at 11–19 days.

Learn more about the house sparrow at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photographs: male (above), female (left) by Kay Milton ©

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking. Moon, G The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds.