The Red Headed Sparrow: Everything you need to know

The Red Headed Sparrow: Everything you need to know

The world of birds can be a truly special place to spend your time. Getting to know all of the adorable little creatures of the world can be an immensely enjoyable experience. 

Not only is it very likely that you will learn a lot by learning about nature, but you can find out some very impressive facts indeed from various creatures in the world. For example, have you ever paid any attention to the red headed sparrow?

This little creature has become one of the most revered birds in the world, though it is not always common to see. Like many birds with redheads, you do not always see them where you would expect. 

Red headed birds do tend to be quite specific and so do their habitats and areas. With that in mind, we recommend that you look to find out where you are most likely to see a red headed sparrow by reading our simple guide.

Before long, you will hopefully know how to pick out a red headed sparrow. At the very least, you’ll know how to avoid misnaming another bird with red head colours as a red sparrow!


Spotting sparrows – is it tough?

Sparrows are small birds, so it is quite easy to mix-up another breed of bird with the sparrow. They are typically quite hard to spot from afar because they are not always a large species of bird. 

As such, you might find it surprisingly tough to point out a sparrow from afar. For example, many people will mistake just about any birds with redhead hair as a red sparrow. Sparrows, though, tend to come in various forms. 

You can find different kinds of red headed sparrow whether you attend a field or a city.

Red headed sparrows come in various shapes and factors, and one of the most important things to note is that you can get as many as 40 different species of sparrow. 

The read headed sparrow, though, is easily among the rarest of the family. They are usually quite hard to spot unless you go and look up-close, so try and keep this in mind when it comes to bird watching.

The first thing that you wish to do if you want to know about the read headed sparrow, then, is to look closely at what they actually do in the first place.


Male read headed sparrow

The first thing to try and do is work out how to tell apart the male and female read headed sparrows. 

This is quite a challenge if you are new to the concept of watching birds, but it is not as hard as it might seem. 

The one thing to note about the read headed sparrow is that male equivalents tend to be quite particular with their look. 

For one, the redness is extremely bright; this is often the first thing you will notice about the bird. The rich and detailed colour is contrasted by the large white-sided areas on the head, while the breast and belly are a rich grey-white colour.

Even the reddest of read headed sparrows though will have a tail which is browner in its colouring. 

They also tend to have a black on the throat area, with a stripe that runs from eye to beak. Look closely at a male read headed sparrow, and you might be convinced that it has a pair of eyebrows!

This, though, is simply the shape of the black stripe. The location of that stripe is simply a comical little quirk of nature.


Female read headed sparrow

The female is, by contrast, quite a bit different to its male counterpart. Typically, you will find that a female read headed sparrow is going to be a whole lot less vibrant in terms of its colour scheme. 

While they will still have that redness to them, females are typically free from the bright colours that can make their more bombastic male partners a bit of a target for predators.

With a female sparrow, though, they can look a touch faded. It is only when you see one up-close that you realise their colours are still rich and beautiful; they just lack some of the same vim that you would be used to seeing with other male sparrows.

They also tend to have a very simple style, with their red simply being a complement to the browns, whites, and blacks. 

If you were to compare a read headed sparrow, then, you simply need to look for the ones with the most intense colours as the males and those with a more understated tone and colour scheme are the females.

While it can still vary in terms of tone, it is very rare for a female to be brighter than a male read headed sparrow.


What size is a read headed sparrow?

The read headed sparrow can vary in size throughout its life, but you will often find that they tend to be quite small creatures. 

Body lengths will often top out at around 15 to 19cm, while they can weigh as much as 22-38g. Watch a read headed sparrow spread its wings, though, and you can be surprised to see wings in excess of 70cm. 

Like many breeds of sparrow, their fine wings are often masked somewhat by their dainty and small size.

Outside of their bodies, you will notice they have pretty short tails of around 5cm in size, and they tend to have very small little legs. 

Most read headed sparrows will come with a pinkish-brown pair of legs and will usually have around 1.5cm in size to their legs. 

Beefier sparrows can have as much as 1.7cm, but they are generally quite small creatures when it comes to their general strength and their size throughout their lives. 

They have long and thick beaks, often around 1.5cm in length, and this helps them to easily peck at and pull up seeds from the ground.


Where do read headed sparrows live?

As you might imagine, this is a particular kind of bird that you might not see too often. The red headed sparrow is actually most common if you were to head to the southern parts of Asia. 

Southeast Asia is home to many of these little creatures, often expanding quite far into areas like the Sakhalin Peninsula. This is where you are most likely to find a relative abundance of birds with redheads. 

Take a trip to the Kuril Islands, too, and you can find the read headed sparrow as far afield as in the Russian territories in Asia. 

They also are quite common in parts of south China, northwest India, and various parts of Korea, Japan, and even Laos. 

In terms of where to look in any country, red headed birds tend to do best when they are in a deciduous forest. This means looking for forests with a fair chunk of oak, maple, and elm can be a good idea for most.

The reason why you are not likely to see any read headed sparrows around humans, though, is the fact they do not tend to enjoy being around our busy settlements.


Do read headed sparrows create nests?

Like most birds of this size and strength, you will find that just about any read headed sparrow will be capable of making a large nest. 

They tend to make nests that are quite close to another, with a distance of around 40m from one nest to the next. 

This means they are close enough to offer communal support, but they do not look to pack into tight areas together.

You will often find, though, that many sparrows especially as you move into nations like Russia tend to be quite solitary creatures. 

This means that you might find one nest and then have to travel for a fair distance to find the next one. 

Outside of Asia, many read headed sparrows will look to simply stick life out with their chosen mate and enjoy their time together free from the pressures of life with other sparrows.

This is why many read headed sparrow nests that you find are not going to be close together. If you are intrigued by the concept of a sparrow community, then you should absolutely check out the Asian variety of the read headed sparrow as they are more sociable.


Do read headed sparrows migrate for winter?

As you might imagine, a small bird of this size has to find a way to survive during the winter months. They will choose to do so in many nations, especially across Asia. 

For example, the read headed sparrow of Japan is likely to stay in the country and find a good place to stay when the weather starts to dip. 

Expect to find it harder to spot a read headed sparrow after August reaches the halfway stage.

Most will look to try and make their homecoming take place in the April to May months. This is when spring kicks in full and they can get the most out of the land for a short period of time. 

Since your average read headed sparrow is going to live for about three years, they do tend to make a couple of migrations in their shortish lifespans. 

They also tend to be quite choosy about where they will lay eggs, with the read headed sparrow very cautious about laying eggs in any area that could become a risk to either the creature or its children. 

As such, don’t expect to see many read headed sparrows during the winter months.


Why do some sparrows have red heads?

The colouring of any breed of bird can be a confusing thing to work out; many times, we enjoy the beauty without really questioning the why. 

Why, for example, do some sparrows have a red head as opposed to a brown or a white head? It comes often from their birth.

Just note that if you spot a ‘sparrow’ with a red head when you are in an urban area, then you have likely seen a house finch as opposed to a read headed sparrow. 

These creatures tend to be quite prone to isolation, and as such it is quite rare to imagine one entering your garden. The house finch, for example, is likely to be easier spotted as they have red faces, breasts, and rump areas. 

Compare that with the design of the read headed sparrow above, and you will soon get to know what a read headed sparrow is and what simply looks like one!

A bit of judgement and evaluation can go a long way to making sure you know if you have seen a read headed sparrow or if you have simply seen another bird species with red.


What other birds look like a read headed sparrow?

The most common case of mistaken identity is the aforementioned house finch. There are many forms of bird to look out for in this kind of family, including the likes of the summer tanager, the red crossbill, the pine grosbeak, and the Northern Cardinal.

Many of these birds are simply not from the same kinds of areas or habitats as a true read headed sparrow. 

As such, if you think you have seen a sparrow with redhead in the area then you might be wrong. 

They simply do not deal with areas with high human populations and tend to be among the more isolationist birds.

They tend to be birds which value the comfort of being free from large groups. Unlike other species that tend to stick together and do things as a group, you will find that the red headed sparrow tends to be much more precise in its decisions and its actions. 

They are quite sensitive birds that do as much as they can to avoid conflict or the risk of being threatened.

If you are looking to find out what that little red-headed bird you keep seeing in the wild is, though, it might just be a read headed sparrow!

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