Red Sparrow Bird – Interesting Facts About It

Red sparrow birds are most commonly found in Northern America.

Birdwatchers from Ontario, Canada, and nearby areas are accustomed to watching a red or pink sparrow in trees surrounding their houses. 

These birds are quite cheerful, especially in the mornings.

They may be small, but have unique characteristics.

Let’s dive into some interesting facts about red sparrows, which may bewilder you. 


The red sparrows belong to the old-world sparrow family, also known as the old Passeridae.

The classification of this old-world sparrow is that they are plump, small, with brown, grey, and red colors. 

Physical Appearance

The red sparrows are small birds.

Red Sparrow

The length of the red sparrows typically falls between 11 centimeters to 15 centimeters, and their weight is between 13 grams to 42 grams.

Male and Female Birds

The male red sparrow birds have vivid colors.

They have longer, darker red streaks on their heads and the lower part of the body. 

The female counterparts are usually plain brown.

Human-friendly birds 

The red sparrows are frequently seen in the natural habitat of humans.

These intelligent creatures are human-friendly because they rely on humans for a constant supply of food.

Sincere and Loyal 

The term ‘red sparrows’ is typically referred to male birds.

These male sparrows are known for being loyal to their female counterparts.

They remain with them for most of their lives, helping them build nests and nurture the young sparrows.

They even bring food for their babies and teach them how to fly. It is only when their female counterpart dies that they search for a new mate. 

Dominant Nature

The male red sparrows have a dominating personality and fight with other sparrows, males and females both, to assert their dominance. 

It is common to see red sparrows fighting during the fall and winter seasons.

When they show their dominance, they fluff up their chest, keep their tails straight, and beak open. 

However, things take an opposite turn during the mating season.

Female birds are more likely to dominate these little rebels when mating season comes up in summer and spring. 

Nearly Endangered Species

During the 1990s, the red sparrow birds were attacked with a disease called mycoplasmal.

Mycoplasmal is a crucial eye disease that was life-threatening for the red sparrow population.

Many red sparrows died out of hunger as they had trouble with their vision due to this disease. 

The red sparrow population around the western parts was most affected because of this disease.

Fortunately, this disease has been eradicated on its own. Now red sparrows are usually seen in the same areas as they used to before. 

They often visit the bird watchers’ feeders in their houses or buildings and fill their tummies with seeds and water.  

Often Confused with Violet or Purple Finches

People often mistake red sparrows with violet or purple finches. The common difference is that finches have a small tail, and sparrows have a fairly large tail than finches.

Although red sparrows look similar to the purple finches, the most prominent way of telling them apart is that the violet finch’s head looks like it has been dipped in raspberry juice. 

The red sparrow has only its head, breast area, and a little bit of back area red, while the tail is of brown shade.

Another difference between the red sparrow and finches may be that the former has an extra bone in their tongue, which helps them hold seeds.

Cheerful Voice 

Red sparrow birds have quite a cheerful voice, and they are known as melodious singers. 

You will often find a red sparrow humming cheerfully, especially during the spring season.

The spring weather suits the birds better.

Moreover, when their tummies are filled with food, they will enchant you with their beautiful bird songs. Bird watchers refer to their songs as a joy to the ears.

They Like to Bathe 

Red sparrows, like other sparrows, enjoy their bathing time.

Bathing for red sparrows could either be a sand bath or a dip in a puddle. 

They dig a small hole in the sand with their beaks and then ground their feet in the hole while flapping their wings to blow the dust in the air. 

Migrate in Winters 

Most birds can withstand the cold during the winters season by taking shelter in trees or by building cavities, but red sparrows prefer migrating. 

During colder months, red sparrows migrate to southern, warmer areas.

They Love Eating Seeds 

If you want to attract red sparrow birds to observe their beautiful features, installing bird feeders in your backyard is better.

Fill your bird seeder with cracked corn, millet, oats, wheat, or sunflower seeds as red sparrows love feeding on seeds.

There should be two kinds of feeders that birdwatchers who want to attract red sparrow birds must have. One is the seed feeder, and the other is the water feeder.

However, sometimes they eat and feed their young, small insects and worms while nurturing them. 

They Live in Flocks 

Red sparrows generally are known to be social birds. Therefore, they prefer living in colonies with few individual birds or up to a hundred of them.

Because of their small size, they require a lot of energy to fly. This is the reason red sparrows prefer to fly in groups.

The leader sparrow bird flaps their wings, making uplifts for the birds behind that follow. 

They Can Swim 

Most people are unaware of the fact that sparrows, especially the male red sparrows, not just only fly but can also swim.

If the birds are attacked by a predator and need to escape fast, red sparrows can swim through water. 

Their common predators are cats, snakes, dogs, and foxes. Young and inexperienced sparrows often fall victim to their attacks. 

Not Likely to Be Pets

Red sparrows are not suitable for keeping as pets in the house because they cannot survive alone. They need to be with their flock to thrive. 

Therefore, unless you want to keep fifty or more birds together in your house, it is not a good idea to bring sparrows at home. 

If you decide to keep these birds as a pet, you need to first invest in making a large cage where they can live in flocks. Otherwise, they will not be able to survive without their other friends.

It may be hard for you to watch because when they are alone, they become depressed and sad, eventually dying out of loneliness.   

They Can be Aggressive

These small birds can first appear shy and nervous. It is advised not to be too jumpy or loud in front of red sparrows because they can get aggressive quickly.

Although they do not harm any human with their aggression, but they can alarm the other birds surrounding them. 

When they are angry, red sparrows make their tails straight and flick their wings.

Breeding Season

The breeding season for red sparrows is usually from April to August. 

During the breeding season, they like to be with their female counterparts in the monogamous relation that they have built. 

One of their main jobs is to build the nest for their partner to lay eggs. 

They do not hang out with the flocks during the breeding season.     

Unlikely to be Affectionate

If you think that the red sparrows would become affectionate if you try to feed them daily, sadly, it does not work like that with them. 

Because they are small birds accustomed to living in colonies, they do not consider humans very friendly. This is why red sparrows are least likely to get affectionate towards humans.

These birds like to be free in the wild, and they will not survive in captivity no matter how much love you give them. 

Red sparrows may not be aggressive around humans as they like getting food supplies, but they will not bond with them either. 

Urbanization is Not a Threat 

Urbanization is not a threat to the red sparrow population. Red sparrows have been around for centuries. 

Their unique features allow them to make a home for themselves, even in areas with lesser trees. 

You can even see the sparrow nests under bridges or apartment windows is largely urbanized cities.

In fact, they are in much danger in forests or the wild due to lingering predators such as cats, snakes, and other large carnivorous animals. 

Short Life Expectancy 

The average life expectancy of red sparrow birds is a minimum of four months and a maximum of twenty years. 

The Bottom Line

The pretty little red sparrow birds are such a delight for the birdwatchers. The melodious songs that they sing from their small, soft beaks are so soothing to the ears. 

All in all, red sparrows are the cutest of the bird species; they are delicate and a treat for bird lovers. Their enchanting color and hopping feet will melt your heart. 

For more informative bird-watching blogs and detailed guides, keep watching this space.

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