Breeding status
First Record
Last Recorded

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus


The Tree Sparrow breeds over most of temperate Eurasia and Southeast Asia, and has been introduced elsewhere, including the US. Although several subspecies are recognised, the appearance of this sparrow varies little across its extensive range. This species has undergone a massive decline in northwest Europe (>90% in the UK) due to changes in agricultural practice but is still the 'common' sparrow across much of Asia.

During the late nineteenth century, Tree Sparrows were probably a scarce and local breeding species in the Bailiwick. Smith saw one bird he believed to be nesting at Le Vallon, St Martin on 7 June 1876 and he saw 'one or two about the Vale'. This was the last mention of Tree Sparrows on the islands until relatively recent times. Dobson did not record it and no old records exist from Alderney or Sark. The reason why Tree Sparrows were so uncommon at this time is unknown as they were relatively widespread across southern England and northern France. The French name for Tree Sparrow is Moineau friquet or Le Friquet. The etymology of the area in Guernsey with the same name is unknown but may be related to this species.

The first 'modern' record of Tree Sparrows is from 1948 and comes from a Commander Stokes (Transactions). He describes it as 'partly established' in St Sampsons. However, he also reports many other extremely unlikely records of other species in 1948 and 1949 and this record should be discounted, especially as there were no other records around that time. If it were 'partly established' in the north of the island it is highly likely that it would have been seen by other ornithologists. The first reliable record since Smith's publication was from Petit Bôt on 6 January 1958 and this was followed by records of single birds at Les Tielles on 8 November 1965 and Dos d'Ane, Sark on May 1966.

Since 1969, Tree Sparrows have been a rare migrant and winter visitor. There were two early records from Alderney; one at Val Dontaine on 23 May 1971 and 2 at the Casquets lighthouse on 29 April 1975. After a record from Chouet on 11 June 1975, and 2 birds at Les Landes on 6 March 1976, a relatively large influx took place in Guernsey in November 1976, mirroring a similar influx of the Cirl Bunting. Twelve birds were recorded at the St Sampson's Marais and Delancey Park at the beginning of November, ten of which remained until mid-December. A single bird was recorded in the autumn of 1977 and 2 in spring of 1978 but despite this series of records, Tree Sparrows failed to become established in Guernsey. Since the influx of 1976, only a few birds have been seen on spring and autumn passage. These records listed below include six records of single birds between October and December and four records totalling 7 birds from between March and May.

Pleinmont: 1 on 30 October 1977

Pleinmont: 2 on 7 May 1978

Pleinmont: 1 between 27 October and 12 November 1978

La Miellette: 1 on 26 October 1980

Marais Nord/Vale Marais: 1 on 28 April 1984

Pleinmont: 1 on 7 May 1989

View database records (5)
Tree Sparrow Vale Pond 2/4/1995 1
Tree Sparrow Vale Pond 18/10/1995 1
Tree Sparrow Rue Sauvage 25/12/1996 1
Tree Sparrow Fort Doyle [DOY] 14/6/2015 1
Tree Sparrow Claire Mare [CLA] 24/8/2018 1