House sparrow

The house sparrow Passer domesticus is one of the most widespread birds in the world, having been introduced into many new countries in the mid 1800’s. This widespread distribution and the way that it lives closely alongside people, provide excellent opportunities to study evolutionary change over a short period of time.

We are studying the house sparrows introduced into Australia and New Zealand in around 1850-60’s, and particularly looking at how they have adapted to the variety of climates they now face across their introduced range.


Publications arising from our work on the house sparrow

Sheldon EL, Schrey A, Andrew SC, Ragsdale A, Griffith SC (2018) Epigenetic and genetic variation among three separate introductions of the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) into Australia. Royal Society Open Science 5: 172185.

Andrew SC, Awasthy M, Bolton PE, Rollins LA, Nakagawa S, Griffith SC, (2017) The genetic structure of the introduced house sparrow populations in Australia and New Zealand is consistent with historical descriptions of multiple introductions to each country. Biological Invasions,

Andrew SC, Awasthy, Griffith AD, Nakagawa S, Griffith SC (2018) Clinal variation in avian body size is better explained by summer maximum temperatures during development and not cold winter temperatures. The Auk, 135, 206-217.

Sheldon EL & Griffith SC (2017) A high incidence of non-cavity nesting in an introduced population of House Sparrows suggests that the species should not be constrained by cavity-nest site availability. Avian Research, 8:29. DOI 10.1186/s40657-017-0087-0

Andrew SC, Griffith SC (2016) Inaccuracies in the history of a well-known introduction: a case study of the Australian House Sparrow (Passer domesticus). Avian Research, 7:9 DOI 10.1186/s40657-016-0044-3

Liebl AL, Schrey AW, Andrew SC, Sheldon EL, Griffith SC (2015) Invasion genetics: lessons from a ubiquitous bird, the house sparrow (Passer domesticus). Current Zoology, 61, 465-476.

Ockendon N, Burke T & Griffith SC (2009) Experimental introduction onto an island fails to support the genetic diversity hypothesis of extrapair paternity. Behavioral Ecology, 20, 305-312.

Griffith SC, Dawson DA, Jensen H, Ockendon N, Greig C, Neumann K, Burke T (2007) Fourteen polymorphic microsatellite loci characterized in the house sparrow Passer domesticus (Passeridae, Aves). Molecular Ecology Notes, 7, 333-336.

Jensen H, Sæther B-E, Ringsby TH, Tufto J, Griffith SC, Ellegren H (2004) Lifetime reproductive success in relation to morphology in house sparrow Passer domesticus. Journal of Animal Ecology, 73, 599-611.

Jensen H, Sæther B-E, Ringsby TH, Tufto J, Griffith SC, Ellegren H (2003) Sexual variation in heritability and genetic correlations of morphological traits in house sparrow (Passer domesticus). Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 16, 1296-1307.

Cordero PJ, Griffith SC, Aparicio JM, Parkin DT (2000) Sexual dimorphism in house sparrow eggs. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 48, 353-357.

Griffith SC (2000) A trade-off between reproduction and a condition-dependent sexually selected ornament in the house sparrow, Passer domesticus. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, Series B, 267, 1115-1120.

Griffith SC, Owens IPF, Burke T (1999) Female choice and annual reproductive success favour less-ornamented male house sparrows. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, Series B, 266, 765-770.

Griffith SC, Owens IPF, Burke T (1999) Environmental determination of a sexually selected trait. Nature, 400, 358-360.

Griffith SC, Stewart, IRK, Owens IPF, Dawson DA, Burke T, (1999) Contrasting levels of extra-pair paternity in mainland and island populations of the house sparrow (Passer domesticus): is there an ‘island effect’? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 68, 303-316.

Griffith SC & Stewart IRK (1998) Genetic confirmation of non-identical embryonic twins in the house sparrow Passer domesticus. Journal of Avian Biology. 29, 207-208.