Despite its small size, the house sparrow is probably the worst bird pest from a farmer’s perspective. Its short bill is adapted for eating seeds, and in New Zealand it feeds on grain crops such as wheat, barley and maize. The male has a distinctive chestnut nape and back, and a large black bib, which becomes smaller after breeding. He is responsible for building the bulky nest, and shares both the incubation of the eggs and the feeding of the nestlings with the female.
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Natural Sciences Image Library of New Zealand
Photograph by Peter E. Smith
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Sound file from the Department of Conservation