2020 Photo competition now open

Date posted: 15-Jan-2020

This year's photo competition is now open for entries. Please click here (/m..

AGM 2019

Date posted: 09-Sep-2019

Our Annual General Meeting was held at 7:30 pm on Monday 23rd September at the F..

More plaudits for Tiritiri Matangi

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

Recognition of the wonderful experience visitors have when visiting the Island h..

Results of the 2019 Photo Competition

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

The results of this year's competition have now been decided. Click here (/2019-photo-co..

Lighthouse Open Day

Date posted: 30-Apr-2019

Our historic lighthouse, signal station and diaphonic foghorn will all be on dis..

We need a new Treasurer

Date posted: 08-Apr-2019

The Supporters need a new treasurer to take over in September when Kevin Vaughan..

2019 Concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2019

OrigiNZ, the tartan taonga are returning for the 2019 concert. Click..

Tiri's three unique foghorns

Date posted: 01-Feb-2019

Our next social event will take place on Monday 18th March when Carl Hayson and ..

Young Conservation Superstars win awards!

Date posted: 27-Jan-2019

Gabriel Barbosa and teacher Kate Asher, a team leader who co..

Entries for the 2019 photo competition

Date posted: 19-Jan-2019

We are now taking entries for the 2019 photographic competition. You can enter u..

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.