Spadger, Thatch Sparrow
One of Ireland's top-20 most widespread garden birds.
Conservation Concern: Amber-listed in Ireland due to a moderate ongoing decline in the European breeding population. The House Sparrow population in Ireland is currently stable.
Identification: Sturdy relative of the finches, with large head and bill. Dark brown upperparts with heavy dark streaking, grey underparts. Male has chocolate brown nape, grey crown and large black bib. Female plainer with a buff stripe extending back from eye. Active and noisy around farms, urban areas, parks and gardens. Hops along ground, frequently flicking tail. Sometimes in large flocks, though numbers have declined in recent years.
Similar Species: Tree Sparrow, Dunnock
Call: Various lively "chirrup" sounds and a more grating "churrrr".
Diet: Seeds, split grain, buds and some insects, especially when feeding young. Will use peanut feeder and takes all kinds of scraps from bird table.
Breeding: Breeds throughout Ireland - mainly around farm buildings and built-up areas. Nests in cavity in building, especially under eaves or holes formed by missing brickwork. Will use nestboxes. Has declined in recent years - in some areas this may be due to lack of nest sites.
Wintering: Undertakes only minor movements during the year.
Where to See: Common and widespread throughout Ireland.
Monitored by: Countryside Bird Survey & Garden Bird Survey.