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Fauna and Flora

The rock sparrow in the Marais poitevin

The rock sparrow in the Marais poitevin

Home > Blog > The rock sparrow in the Marais poitevin

12 April 2018

It is hard not to hear the singing of birds while hiking or cycling in the Marais poitevin Regional Natural Park. You can observe more than 330 species of birds in the unspoilt nature of the Marais poitevin, an ideal environment for lots of animal and plant species.

Petronia petronia, discover the Rock sparrow in the Marais poitevin

rock sparrow in the Marais poitevin regional nature Park

Rock sparrow

The rock sparrow looks like the female house sparrow and is thus not easy to discern among other birds. However, it can be identified thanks to its bigger legs, its smaller tail and its stronger beak. You can spot it thanks to its characteristic yellow spot around the throat, but it is quite difficult.

The rock sparrow lives in open areas such as rock or wall holes. It starts nesting in April, with two hatches of 4-5 eggs per year: the first one in April-May, at the end of which chicks fly after 21 days, immediately followed by a second one in June-July.

Listen to the singing of the Rock sparrow

Rock sparrow (Petronia petronia) – GROSSELET Olivier


Protecting the Rock sparrow in the Marais poitevin

After it emerges from the nest and flies, the Rock sparrow will feed on seeds and cereals in autumn and winter, but also on insects and shrub fruits in spring and summer.

Even though it is quite rare in the Marais poitevin, the northern limit of its territory, we can find it up to the heart of Niort or in the limestone plains on the edge of the Marais poitevin.

The Rock sparrow prefers the rocks to nest: the traditional houses of the Marais poitevin are thus perfect for this bird. It appreciates the gaps between the joints of old limestone rocks.
That’s why the Rock sparrow likes abandoned houses in the cities and villages of the Marais poitevin Regional Natural Park.

Although the Rock sparrow lives in groups, it tends to be discreet and its singing, like a high-pitched whistling, betrays its presence and allows a further observation.
If the Rock sparrow is not an endangered species on the European continent, its population has decreased since the beginning of the 20th century, thus justifying the recognition of the Rock sparrow as a protected species.

That’s why the territory of the Marais poitevin Regional Natural Park is of certain importance for the preservation of the Rock sparrow, since the area is adapted to the species.


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