colorful and variegated tree sparrow, a high-flying songbird. discover the vibrant colors and graceful flight of this captivating songbird.

Colorful and Variegated Tree Sparrow, a High-Flying Songbird

GardenBy May 24, 2024

The tree sparrow (Passer montanus), also known as the Eurasian tree sparrow, is a captivating and vibrant songbird. With its colorful and variegated plumage, this high-flying species is a remarkable sight to behold. In this article, we will explore the characteristics and behaviors of the tree sparrow, shedding light on its unique features and the importance of its role in the avian world.


The tree sparrow is a small bird, measuring approximately 14 to 16 centimeters in length with a wingspan of 26 centimeters. Its lightweight body weighs between 17 to 30 grams. What sets the tree sparrow apart is its striking plumage, which features a harmonious blend of colors. The upper part of its body, including the mantle and upper back, displays a rich brown-chocolate hue. The lower part, specifically the belly, is adorned in a vinous pink shade, gradually fading to white towards the lower section.
The head of the tree sparrow showcases a delicate plumage in slate-blue, with the exception of a black forehead and chestnut-colored cheeks. The upper wings flaunt black feathers, marked by two prominent white bars, while the rest of the wings transition to a light yellow shade. The rump is a lustrous olive green, the tail is black with white streaks, and the legs and feet are a rosy-brown color. The tree sparrow’s beak is small, conical, and grayish-blue in color.
During the breeding season, the plumage of the tree sparrow becomes even more vibrant and colorful. Conversely, in winter, its feathers lose their luster, only to regain their brilliance as spring arrives.

Habitat and Distribution

The tree sparrow is found in Europe and Western Asia, with its range spanning from Western Europe to Central Siberia. It can be observed as far north as Scandinavia and as far south as the northern edge of Africa. While the tree sparrow primarily inhabits forests, particularly open woodlands, it is also adaptable to various environments. It can thrive in urban parks, gardens, cultivated areas, orchards, and even in forests with its abundance in those habitats. This adaptability enables the tree sparrow to remain one of the most prevalent passerines in forested regions.


The tree sparrow is known for its distinct vocalizations. Its contact call is a recognizable “pink-pink,” which is often heard early in the morning. Additionally, the tree sparrow produces a varied array of melodic notes, lending a cheerful and dynamic quality to its song. During the breeding season, the male tree sparrow utilizes its call to defend its nest and territory, a behavior that differs from region to region.
While the tree sparrow can be social, particularly during other seasons, the male exhibits territorial behavior during the breeding period. It perches conspicuously and sings to defend its space. While it forages on the ground by hopping from place to place, it prefers nesting in concealed branches. In most cases, tree sparrows are sedentary, remaining in their territories throughout the year. Interestingly, outside the breeding season, the male tree sparrows live apart from females and young individuals, forming separate groups. This unique tendency has earned the species its scientific name, “coelebs,” which means “bachelor.”

Feeding Habits

The tree sparrow has an omnivorous diet, consuming both plant and animal-based food sources. During the warmer months, it primarily feeds on insects such as caterpillars, flies, spiders, larvae, and earthworms. In other seasons, its diet consists predominantly of seeds, which provide the necessary energy for migratory birds, along with flowers, buds, and fallen fruits. The tree sparrow finds its food on the ground, utilizing various foraging techniques.


Breeding season typically begins from April and extends until July. During this period, the female tree sparrow constructs the nest, starting as early as March. Building the nest involves numerous trips, with the female gathering moss, rootlets, and plant fibers, intricately weaving them together and blending them into the surroundings. The nest is carefully designed with a cup shape, lined with feathers and hairs. Its exterior is adorned with lichens for camouflage. Once completed, the nest is secured on sturdy branches, in forks or crevices.
The female alone incubates the 4 to 5 pale blue and speckled eggs for a duration of 11 to 14 days. Upon hatching, the male joins the female in feeding the nestlings, predominantly providing them with insects. The tree sparrow typically raises one brood per year, although second broods may occur if the first one was early in the season. The fledglings remain in the nest for approximately 15 days before taking flight.

Importance in the Garden

The tree sparrow’s fondness for seeds may lead it to feast on newly sown seeds in gardens, especially during seasons when insects are scarce. However, its impact on crops is minimal, and it plays a vital role in naturally controlling insect populations that can damage vegetables, plants, and flowers. As such, welcoming tree sparrows into gardens proves beneficial for protecting plantations without the need for chemical intervention.

Conservation Status

The tree sparrow is not currently considered a threatened species. Although its population has experienced a decline, it is less impacted compared to other avian species due to its forest habitat. Birds in agricultural environments, on the other hand, face greater challenges due to the widespread use of pesticides. While forests are unfortunately diminishing, the tree sparrow demonstrates a relatively successful ability to adapt to alternative environments, ensuring its survival.
In conclusion, the tree sparrow is a captivating and colorful songbird that enchants with its vibrant plumage and melodious call. Its adaptability allows it to thrive in various habitats while playing a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance. The tree sparrow is a delightful addition to any garden, offering natural pest control and adding a touch of beauty to the avian world.

Rate this post


I'm Jennifer. My hands are often covered in soil, and my heart is full of passion for nature. Through my writings, I share my personal gardening journeys, tips, and the joy of cultivating both plants and a community of fellow garden lovers. Every plant I grow adds a story to my life, and I love sharing those tales with my readers.