Spanish Sparrow

Passer hispaniolensis

دوري أسباني

Status: Very common

The Spanish Sparrow is in the Passeridae family in the Passerine order. It is 14.5-16.7 cm' in size and 20-32 grams in weight. It is very similar to the House Sparrow but it is much more impressive and appealing. The two species are closely related and occasionally even hybridize together. The females look almost identical to the females of the House sparrow except for a faded brown striping on the breast and sides of the belly, but the males have a chestnut-brown cap that is contrasting to a white eyebrow stripe. Their cheeks are white and the chin is black, and they have obvious black striping on the chest and the sides of the belly. The colors are gradually getting stronger during the winter towards the breeding season due to the warring of the feathers. The call of the Spanish Sparrow is deeper and less high-pitched than the House Sparrow. The wintering population arrives during October-November and leaves during February-March. And during the winter The Spanish Sparrow groups up in large flocks in agriculture fields and open lands. Those flocks make amazing aerodynamic maneuvers during the evening on their way to the roosting site that resembles flocks of starlings. The Spanish Sparrow breeds on trees in large and dense colonies much like the weavers in Africa and usually they choose to nest far from human inhabited places. Each colony may contain tens and even hundreds of ball-shaped nests, sometimes the sparrows may even take over abandoned nests of storks or raptures. In the past there were cases in which the large and dense colonies caused the collapsing of the tree on which they were built. The ball-shaped nest is big and sloppy with an opening hatch on its side. It's made from dry grass and thin branches, and its softened with feathers and animal hair. The female lays 4-6 shiny eggs and sits on them for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed for the first days with insects and later on they are gradually fed with different seeds and grains. Most of the breeding population reaches the breeding grounds during March-April and leaves during June-July. In some places the population remains resident but it's also wandering locally after the breeding season. The distribution of the Spanish Sparrow is vast, from Spain and Portugal in the west, throughout southern Europe, northern Africa and the Middle-east, all the way to Kazakhstan, western China and northern India in the east. Two subspecies were classified in that distribution.

The Spanish is classified as Least Concern.

Migratory behaviour: Winter

Sites: Beitillu, Umm at-Tut, Wadi Al-Quff nature reserves