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a genus of birds of the weaver finch family of the order Pas seriformes. As a rule the males and females have different coloring; for males, a black throat is characteristic. They may be either settled or nomadic; some are migratory. They nest in tree hollows, burrows, or buildings or make globe-shaped nests in trees. Many species make their habitat in populated areas. They are grain-eating birds; the young first feed on insects and, later, on seeds. There are 16 species, distributed over Africa, Europe, and Asia. Some species have been imported into America, Australia, and New Zealand. There are seven species in the USSR. The house sparrow (Passer domesticus) is found in settled places everywhere except in the north and in parts of the Far East. The species P. indicus, similar in color to the house sparrow but migratory and tending to prefer uninhabited areas, is found in Central Asia. The tree sparrow (P. montanus) is widely distributed throughout the USSR; it does not occur, however, in the north and in the Kamchatka. Spanish spar-rows (P. hispaniolensis) are numerous in Central Asia and Transcaucasia; they nest in huge colonies in trees. The saxaul sparrow (P. ammodendri) and the desert sparrow (P. simplex), as well as the russet sparrow (P. rutilans), found on Sakhalin and the South Kuril Islands, live in the wilderness and do not associate with man. The species P. indicus and P. hispaniolensis are destroyers of grain crops and they are combated with poisonous bait.
REFERENCEPtitsy Sovetskogo Soiuza. Edited by G. P. Dement’ev and N. A. Gladkov. Vol. 5. Moscow 1954.
G. P. DEMENT’EV