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BTO Blueline
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BTO Blueline
Passer montanus
Tree Sparrow © Tommy Holden
Conservation listings

Europe: no SPEC category, secure
UK: Red (>50% population decline)

Long-term trend
UK: rapid decline
Status summary
Tree Sparrow abundance crashed between the late 1970s and the early 1990s. BBS data indicate increase since 1994, in England and in the UK as a whole, but it should be remembered that the current population level is only about 3% of the numbers just two decades earlier. Clear range contractions occurred between the two breeding atlas periods (Gibbons et al. 1993), and have continued subsequently, with many local extinctions during the 1990s. Features of agricultural intensification, such as reductions in winter stubble availability, are likely to be implicated in the decline. Breeding performance has improved substantially as population sizes have decreased, suggesting that decreases in productivity were not responsible for the decline. It is likely that survival was the more critical demographic rate, although ring-recovery analyses have produced equivocal results because of small sample sizes (Siriwardena et al. 1998b, 2000b).
CBC/BBS England graph
Table of population changes for Tree Sparrow
Source Period
Years Plots
Alert Comment
CBC/BBS England 33 1967-2000 77 -97 -99 -95 >50  
  25 1975-2000 75 -97 -99 -94 >50  
  10 1990-2000 88 -57 -81 -29 >50  
  5 1995-2000 127 14 -9 38    
BBS UK 8 1994-2002 133 55 26 91    
BBS England 8 1994-2002 111 16 -8 45    
BBS acknowledgement
BBS UK graph
BBS England graph
Table of productivity information for Tree Sparrow
Variable Period
Years Mean
Trend Predicted
in first year
in last year
Change Comment
Clutch size 33 1968-2001 92 Curvilinear 4.71 eggs 5.19 eggs 0.48 eggs  
Brood size 33 1968-2001 104 Linear increase 3.84 chicks 4.52 chicks 0.68 chicks  
Daily failure rate (eggs) 33 1968-2001 121 Curvilinear 0.0071 nests/day 0.0029 nests/day -0.0042 nests/day  
Daily failure rate (chicks) 33 1968-2001 87 Linear decline 0.014 nests/day 0.0089 nests/day -0.0051 nests/day  
Laying date 33 1968-2001 106 None        
Clutch size graph
Brood size graph
Egg nest failure graph
Chick nest failure graph
Laying date graph
Insufficient data on CES
available for this species
BTO blue divider
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This report should be cited as:
Crick, H.Q.P., Marchant, J.H., Noble, D.G., Baillie, S.R., Balmer, D.E., Beaven, L.P., Coombes, R.H.,
Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Joys, A.C., Leech, D.I., Raven, M.J., Robinson, R.A. and Thewlis, R.M. (2004)
Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2003.
BTO Research Report No. 353. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends2003)

Pages maintained by Susan Waghorn and Iain Downie: Last updated 16 February, 2009