Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis


Justification of Red List category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be decreasing, but the decline is not thought to be rapid enough to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 6,110,000-13,200,000 pairs, which equates to 12,200,000-26,300,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.20% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 61,000,000-131,500,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification
In Europe the population size is estimated to be decreasing by less than 25% in three generations (BirdLife International 2015).


This species is found mainly in moist, humid areas near water with trees and shrubs. It is normally associated with cultivation, extending in places into more arid steppe and semi-desert and penetrating urban areas where Passer domesticus is lacking. Breeding occurs mainly from April to August in the west of its range, from March in North Africa, August-October and February-March in Cape Verde Islands and from end May/early June in north-east of the range. It breeds colonially. The nest is a loosely woven, roughly spherical structure 15–30 cm in diameter and made of grass and other plant stems, lined with finer grasses and feathers. It is firmly attached to branches of a tree, in the lower part of large nest of bird of prey, crow (Corvidae) or heron (Ardeidae), or on a pylon. It is rarely in a hole in a wall or building. Clutches are two to six eggs. It feeds mostly on vegetable matter, especially seeds of grasses, cultivated crops and low herbs, but it also takes invertebrates throughout year. The species is variously resident, nomadic and migratory (Summers-Smith 2015).


On Madeira, the species has declined almost to extinction as a result of the wide-spread use of pesticides (Summers-Smith 2015).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within Europe.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Locally, this species would benefit from the ban on the indiscriminate use of pesticides.


Text account compilers
Symes, A., Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Ashpole, J, Everest, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Passer hispaniolensis. Downloaded from on 26/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/02/2024.