Primary School Science Conservation 2020 Award

Date posted: 18-Dec-2020

Dylan Lewis Y7 from Mahurangi College, Warkworth, being presented with the ..

Supporters of Tiritiri Inc and Fullers 360 Science Conservation 2020 Award

Date posted: 18-Dec-2020

The NIWA Auckland City Science and Technology Fair winner of the Supporters of Tiritiri ..

2020 Conservation Week

Date posted: 12-Aug-2020

Meet the Takahē on Tiritiri Matangi Island When: 1:30 pm, ..

AGM 2020

Date posted: 25-Jul-2020

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE TO WEDNESDAY 21ST OCTOBER 2020 due to Covid restrictions at t..

Ferry Resuming July 4th!

Date posted: 01-Jun-2020

Great News!!! We have confirmation Fuller360 ferry service to Tiritiri Matangi wi..

The 2020 Photo Competition Winners

Date posted: 22-May-2020

Here are the winning and commended photos from this year's competition. Congratulations to the photo..

Celebrate the Takahe Art Competition

Date posted: 08-Apr-2020

Hi Tiri Kids, It’s TakahÄ“ Awareness Month! Everyone loves our takah..

COVID-19 Important Information

Date posted: 25-Mar-2020

The government has announced that New Zealand is now at alert level 2 for COVID-19. Th..

2019 Winner Primary School Supporters of Tiritiri and Fullers 360 Science Award is Ethan Raymond

Date posted: 11-Mar-2020

Ethan has helped the Enviro-Warriors in many ways such as planning, gard..

2019 Winner Y8-Y13 NIWA Supporters of Tiritiri and Fullers 360 Science Award is Abby Haezelwood

Date posted: 11-Mar-2020

Abby Haezelwood with her winning Science Exhibit on Plastic Beaches at the NIWA Taihoro Nuk..

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.