Date
11 December 2017
Sparrows in Hong Kong have mostly adapted to an urban environment, making their nests on building structures. Photos: hkbws.org.hk/Leung Yee Ching, Chung Yun Tak, HKEJ
Sparrows in Hong Kong have mostly adapted to an urban environment, making their nests on building structures. Photos: hkbws.org.hk/Leung Yee Ching, Chung Yun Tak, HKEJ

Hong Kong has higher sparrow density than UK, survey finds

Hong Kong has around 320,000 Eurasian tree sparrows, with the birds spread across all the territory’s 18 districts, according to the first-ever sparrow survey in the city. 

The survey, overseen by the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS), suggests that there could be 1,200 to 1,700 sparrows per square kilometer in Hong Kong.

It would mark a higher density of the bird population compared to that in the United Kingdom, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported. 

The survey, which was conducted in May and covered public housing estates, parks, industrial areas and villages, found that 70 percent of the sparrows like to build nests on building structures, such as vents, external walls, air-conditioning units and pipes.

Sham Shui Po has the highest number of sparrows, while Southern District, Sai Kung and Outlying Islands have the least number of the birds, whose scientific name is Passer montanus, according to the survey.

A total of 427 citizens took part in the survey covering 87 routes, with each route spanning around a kilometer, according to Ming Pao Daily.

The paper quoted an HKBWS member, Yu Yat-tung, as saying that common birds like sparrows are often neglected.

Conservation work could be too late if a species becomes endangered, he warned.

Yu pointed that one of the key objectives of international conservation groups is “keeping common birds common”.

Commenting on the choice of sparrow as the subject of the survey, Yu said the HKBWS selected the bird for a particular reason.

By tracing the changes in the number and species of a common bird like sparrow, the group felt that it can accurately portray the situation in relation to environmental change in Hong Kong, he said.

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