How long do sparrows live?


The house sparrow is one of the most charismatic house birds. The oldest wild house sparrow was found in Texas in 2004, 15 years and 9 months old. The longest lifespan of a house sparrow in captivity was recorded as 23 years.

So, how long do sparrows live? The common house sparrows have a lifespan of 3-5 years. However, some sparrows can live up to 9 years in the wild. The common cause of the short lifespan of wild sparrows are predators, diseases, and the environment.

Keep reading this article to know the lifespan of various sparrows, the most common region they are found in, and their common cause of death.

Lifespan of Various Sparrows

The lifespan of house sparrows is just 3 years but there are other sparrows that can live up to 20 years in the wild. The lifespan of these sparrows also depends upon where they nest and how many attacks they encounter in their life.

Name of SparrowLifespan in YearsRegionCommon Cause of Death
House Sparrow3North AmericaPredators, diseases, environment, humans
Eurasian Tree Sparrow3Europe and AsiaContaminated ecosystem, outdoor cats, and Diseases
Cape Sable seaside sparrow2-3United StatesClimate change, habitat loss, and predators
Wild Sparrow13Eurasia and Northern AfricaClimate change, habitat loss, and predators
Song Sparrow3-5North AmericaWindow collisions, predator’s attacks, and insecticides
Bachman’s Sparrow3South-East United StatesClimate change, habitat loss, and predators
Grasshopper sparrow7Texas, USContaminated ecosystem, outdoor cats, and Diseases
Harris’ sparrow2Northern CanadaContaminated ecosystem, outdoor cats, and Diseases
Henslow’s sparrow6 US and coastal marshes along the AtlanticContaminated ecosystem, outdoor cats, and Diseases
Italian sparrow20Northern and Central Italy, Corsica, and small parts of France, Switzerland, Austria, and SloveniaContaminated ecosystem, outdoor cats, and Diseases
Lark sparrow7West and the Great Plains in prairies, grasslandsOutdoor cats and window collisions
Le Conte’s sparrow4Northern prairies and winters in the SoutheastOutdoor cats and window collisions
Lincoln’s sparrow7Alaska and CanadaOutdoor cats and window collisions
Nelson’s sparrow7Atlantic coast of Canada and Maine, central CanadaOutdoor cats and window collisions
Olive sparrow6Atlantic and Pacific lowlands of MexicoOutdoor cats and window collisions
Rock sparrow2-4Western North Africa, Southern Europe, Siberia, and North, and central ChinaClimate change, habitat loss, and predators
White-crowned Sparrow13Northern Canada and the western United StatesOutdoor cats and window collisions
Black-throated sparrow5 Oregon and southern Idaho

Deadly insecticide, outdoor cats, and habitat loss
Brewer’s sparrow5Interior West of North AmericaDeadly insecticide, outdoor cats, and habitat loss
Chipping sparrow9 North America Deadly insecticide, outdoor cats, and habitat loss
Clay-Colored sparrow5Open Grassland and Moist Steppe Zones
Field sparrow7Eastern Canada and the Eastern United StatesDeadly insecticide, outdoor cats, and habitat loss
Five-striped sparrow4Western Mexico and Southern ArizonaOutdoor cats and window collisions
Fox sparrow9 Northern Canada and western North AmericaOutdoor cats and window collisions
Golden-crowned sparrow10Alaska and western CanadaDeadly insecticide, outdoor cats, and habitat loss

What Affects the Lifespan of Sparrows?

The lifespan of sparrows is primarily affected by predators, diseases, injuries, and environmental changes. The use of excessive insecticides has also affected their lifespan.

Let’s go through the factors that affect a sparrow’s lifespan in detail below:

Predators

Even though sparrows themselves are predators to other small birds like bluebirds, they do have to save themselves from other predators. One of the most know predators for sparrows is the cat. Other predators include crows, small hawks, crows, squirrels, and grackles.

Cats alone kill millions of birds and sparrows are their primary target in the United States. Crows, Small hawks, grackles, red and grey squirrels generally attack their eggs and nestlings. 

Diseases

The most common diseases that decrease the sparrow’s lifespan are coccidiosis and sarcosporidiosis (protozoan disease). 

Sparrows live and travel in flocks and therefore, an outbreak of any disease reduces their population to a great extent.

Extreme cold weather also reduces their lifespan.

Injuries

Window collisions are the major source of injuries to sparrows. 

Millions of birds (including sparrows) in the United States die every year due to collisions to windows. 

Pesticides

Today, most of the seeds are coated with neonicotinoids (a common pesticide used worldwide). A single seed coated with this pesticide can kill a sparrow and other songbirds.

The other commonly used pesticide is imidacloprid that makes sparrows lose a lot of weight. Due to this, the sparrows don’t migrate and their mating stops, consequently causing a decline in their population.

Environmental Change

Sparrows are adaptive to environmental changes, even though, the rise in global warming and unpredicted change in environmental conditions plays a major role in their population decline.

Humans

Sparrows are small songbirds, and they build their nests in any small hole they get. Humans kill these songbirds by removing their nests.

When humans frequently visit their nests, the parents go away from the nest leaving behind the young ones. These young sparrows can’t live without their parents and most often they die.

In the United States, killing sparrows is even legal in federal law. We love birds and therefore, we request these people to get rid of them rather than killing them.

Go through this article, “how to get rid of sparrows” to get rid of them without killing.

“According to a study, published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, a one-foot rise in sea level would create a corresponding decrease of .35 percent of saltmarsh sparrows, whereas, 2-1/2 foot rise corresponded to a .56 percent decrease.

According to this study, the changes in sea levels wouldn’t impact the seaside sparrows, unless humans intervene.”

How can you reduce the risks to sparrows?

We can reduce the risk and increase the sparrow’s lifespan by discouraging predators, keep their feeders clean, avoiding the use of pesticides, and stopping them from flying into windows.

Discouraging Predators

Sparrows are vulnerable to cats and most US families love cats as pets in their house. 

Keep your cats away from sparrow nests and feeders. Always, monitor your cat when they go outside, if possible, attach bells to them, to know when they approach.

Squirrels, crows, and small hawks are also predators to house sparrows and therefore, provide a secure birdhouse for their breeding and keep them out of reach from predators.

Keep Feeder and Birdhouse Clean

Keeping bird feeders and Birdhouses clean reduces the spread of infections and diseases in sparrows. You can do it easily by soaking them into a solution of 9 parts of bleach and 1 part water. However, if you can’t do this yourself, arrange a professional to do it for you.

Always make sure to clean the birdhouse after the mating season.

The clean bird feeder can attract many more sparrows and other birds to your backyard and stop the spread of diseases in birds.

Don’t Remove Sparrows Nest

The house sparrows are small birds, and they don’t create a lot of nuisances. If they create nests anywhere in your house, don’t kill them or remove their nest suddenly.

If you see eggs in the nest, don’t touch them.

Better use this guide to get rid of them.

Don’t Use Harmful Pesticides

Pesticides are harmful to birds as well as humans. Using them in your backyard or seeds coated with pesticides kill sparrows slowly. 

We are bird lovers and therefore, we don’t support the use of pesticides, insecticides, or any chemicals that can kill birds and harm nature’s ecological balance.

How Long Do Sparrows Live In Captivity?

Experts say that keeping sparrows in captivity increases their lifespan. They get protection from predators and therefore, enjoy a long life. 

The longest captive sparrow lived around 23 years, on the other hand, the wild sparrow that lived for the longest was around 15 years.

It is true that keeping these songbirds in captivity, increases their lifespan and protects them from predators and other environmental factors. Still, we think that these birds play a vital role in balancing our ecosystem and therefore shouldn’t be kept in a cage.

Conclusion

The exact lifespan of sparrows can not be monitored until you keep them captive. So, finding how long sparrows can live can’t be found precisely. It depends upon several other factors, we can’t handle.

However, as bird enthusiasts, it is our responsibility to spread awareness.

Related Questions

Do sparrows return to the same nest? Generally, sparrows don’t return to the same nest and build new ones. This also keeps them safe from predators.

In which weather can sparrows survive better? Sparrows can survive better in summer as compared to winter. It becomes difficult for them to search for food in the bitter cold.

Can you keep a sparrow as a pet? It is legal to keep house sparrows as pets. But other species of wild sparrows are protected by law. So, better check your state law before keeping them as pets.

Donald Bergeson

I have always been fascinated by the skill, strength, and beauty of birds.They help in maintaining a balance of ecological environment. At Best Bird Guide, I share all of my experiences and discoveries that I have got so far and inspire more devoted fans.

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