Identification: Tree Sparrows are smaller and usually brighter-looking than House Sparrows with a rich chestnut-brown crown and a neat black spot in their clean white cheeks.
Habitat: Breeds and winters in woodland, farmland and scrub, nesting in holes in trees or buildings.
Distribution: A rapidly declining species that was once widespread throughout most of Britain. Now a rather localised bird, which is easier to see in winter when it forms small flocks. Areas of rough ground or set-aside land are probably the best places to see the species. Very rare in south-west England and Wales.
Widespread and numerous in most of Europe except many parts of Scandinavia.
Population: 110 000 territories estimated for Britain, most common in central and eastern areas. About 9 000 territories are estimated for Ireland, mainly in the north-east. Although declining rapidly, the last 20 years have seen a drop in numbers of over 80%.
14-17 million breeding pairs found throughout Europe except northern Scandinavia. Rare in Greece.