Italian Sparrow Passer italiae


Taxonomic note

Passer domesticus and P. italiae (del Hoyo and Collar 2016) were previously lumped as P. domesticus following AERC TAC (2003); AOU (1998 & supplements); Christidis & Boles (2008); Cramp et al. (1977-1994); Dowsett & Forbes-Watson (1993); SACC (2005 & updates); Sibley & Monroe (1990, 1993); Stotz et al. (1996); Turbott (1990).

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - A2bce+3bce+4bce

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Vulnerable A2bce+3bce+4bce
2017 Vulnerable A2bce+3bce+4bce
2016 Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency low
Land-mass type Average mass 24 g

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 1,100,000 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Number of mature individuals 4300000-7300000 poor estimated 2015
Population trend decreasing suspected 2008-2026
Decline % (10 years/3 generations future) 30-49 - - -
Decline % (10 years/3 generations past and future) 30-49 - - -
Generation length (years) 6 - - -

Population justification: The Italian Red List estimated that there are 10,000,000-20,000,000 individuals in the country (Peronace et al. 2012). In the European Red List of Birds the global population size was estimated to be 2,173,000-3,629,000 pairs, equivalent to 4,346,000-7,258,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015), rounded here to 4,300,000-7,300,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification: The only country within this species’s range where declines have been noted is Italy (BirdLife International 2015), where the rate of decline has been estimated at 30-40% between 2000 and 2012 (BirdLife International 2015), 47% between 2000 and 2010 (LIPU & Rete Rurale Nazionale 2011), 54.2% between 2000 and 2015 (E. de Carli in litt. 2017), and 50% in northern Italy between 1996 and 2006 (Brichetti et al. 2008). Combining and extrapolating the trend estimates from Italy and other countries produces an overall rate of decline between 36% and 51% over 3 generations (c. 18 years). Therefore, the decline has tentatively been placed in the range 30-49% over 3 generations.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Austria extant native yes
France extant native yes
Greece extant native yes
Italy extant native yes
Slovenia extant native yes
Switzerland extant native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Irrigated Land (includes irrigation channels) suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Plantations suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Rural Gardens suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas major resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Forest Temperate suitable resident
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Grassland Temperate suitable resident
Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks) suitable resident
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable resident
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Moist suitable resident
Shrubland Temperate suitable resident
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable resident
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 2200 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - non-trivial recent
Medicine - human & veterinary - - non-trivial recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - international non-trivial recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Passer italiae. Downloaded from on 24/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/09/2023.