Italian Sparrow

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Common Name: Italian or Cisalpine Sparrow
Scientific Name: Passer italiae

Size: 5.5-6.3 inches (14-16 cm)

Habitat: Europe. The Italian Sparrow is found in northern and central Italy, Corsica, and small parts of France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia.

This is associated with human habitations, inhabiting towns, cities, and agricultural areas. In most cities in Italy, it shares the urban environment with the Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 5,000,000-10,000,000 mature individuals. It has a population density of 58 to 160 pairs per square km. Up to the mid-1990s, its population increased steadily, probably due to increased urbanization. Between 2000 and 2005, the Italian Sparrow's population in Italy declined by 27.1%, mirroring the declines of the House Sparrow throughout Europe. From 1998 to 2008, urban populations declined by about 50%. A study of the Italian Sparrow's status listed a large number of potential causes for the Italian Sparrow's decline, including shortages of insect food, agricultural intensification, and reductions of green areas. The Italian Sparrow is among the most common birds in Italian cities, but other species, including the European Goldfinch, are more common.

Diet: Seeds of grains and other grasses, also eating leaves, fruits, and other plant materials, and occasionally insects.

Nesting: The male has a full chestnut cap and white cheeks like the Spanish Sparrow but pale belly without black spotting, so unlike the Spanish Sparrow in that respect. The female looks like the female House Sparrow, but identified by proximity to males of the same species.

The Italian Sparrow nests in large colonies of closely spaced or even multiple shared nests. Nests are usually placed in trees or bushes, amongst branches or underneath the nests of larger birds such as White Storks. Colonies may hold from ten pairs to hundreds of thousands of pairs. Each pair lays 2–8 eggs, which hatch in 12 days, with the chicks fledging when about 14 days old. Males spend more time constructing nests than females.

Cool Facts: Besides intergrading with the Spanish and House Sparrows, the Italian Sparrow has been recorded hybridizing with the Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

In most of its range, the Italian Sparrow is an abundant and familiar bird of houses. It has been one of the wild birds most commonly consumed as food in Italy. The Italian Sparrow is portrayed in the frescos in the ruins at Pompeii.

Like the House Sparrow, the Italian Sparrow is considered a biological indicator of habitat degradation.

Found in Songbird Remix Sparrows of the World

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