A lone sparrow on resting on a reed at the santa Barbara bird refuge. Sparrows are any of a number of small, chiefly seed-eating birds having conical bills. The name sparrow is most firmly attached to birds of the Old World family Ploceidae (order Passeriformes), particularly to the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) that is so common in temperate North America and Europe, but also to many New World members of the Fringillidae. The house sparrow and its relatives, however, probably do not belong in Ploceidae and may be classified as a separate family, Passeridae.
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