House Sparrow Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Small, seed-eating bird
- Thick, conical bill
- Pink legs
- Extremely common in urban and agricultural areas

Adult male
- Gray crown
- Black throat, upper breast, and small mask; less black
  on throat in winter
- Grayish side of neck and underparts
- Rusty-brown nape and upperparts
- Black streaks on back
- White patch in wing
- Gray rump
- Black bill in summer; yellowish in winter

Female and immature
- Gray-brown crown
- Buffy line extends rearward from eye bordered below
  by gray-brown line
- Grayish-white underparts
- Black and tawny streaks on back
- Black wing feathers with wide tawny edges
- White patch on wing
- Yellow bill
- Immature males lack full throat patch of adults

Similar species
The adult male House Sparrow is quite distinctive but might be confused with the very local Eurasian Tree Sparrow (St. Louis, Missouri). The Eurasian Tree Sparrow has a black spot on the ear coverts and an entirely brown crown.

The female House Sparrow looks somewhat similar to a number of species of sparrows but has unstreaked underparts, tawny streaks on the back, and a large yellowish bill. The female Dickcissel also has a large bill but it is gray, not yellow, and usually has some yellow in the face and a rusty patch in the wing.
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