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sparrow,common name of various small brown-and-gray perching birds. New World birds called sparrows are members of the finchfinch,
common name for members of the Fringillidae, the largest family of birds (including over half the known species), found in most parts of the world except Australia.
..... Click the link for more information. family. They were named for their resemblance to the English sparrowEnglish sparrow
or house sparrow,
small bird, Passer domesticus, common throughout most of the world. English sparrows are 4 to 7 in. (10–18 cm) long, with short, stout bills.
..... Click the link for more information. and the European tree sparrow (members of the weaverbirdweaverbird,
name for the Ploceidae, a family of Old World seed-eating birds closely resembling finches (hence the alternate name weaver finch). It includes a number of so-called goldfinches and waxbill finches that are actually weaverbirds, rather than true finches of the family
..... Click the link for more information. family), both introduced in the Americas. Members of both groups have stout, conical beaks adapted to seed eating. Among the many sparrows found in the United States are the song sparrow, the white-throated sparrow (or peabody bird), and the chipping, white-crowned, vesper, Lincoln's, fox, field, tree, and swamp sparrows. Sparrows are valuable to farmers in destroying weed seeds. Originally sparrow meant any small bird; the word appears in this sense in Greek mythology and in the Scriptures.
See study by J. D. Summers-Smith (1988).
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1. any weaverbird of the genus Passer and related genera, esp the house sparrow, having a brown or grey plumage and feeding on seeds or insects
2. US and Canadian any of various North American finches, such as the chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina), that have a dullish streaked plumage
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005