House Sparrows dig and chew on grass stolons

posted in: bird, Feeding-plants | 0
Image 1: A female (left) and a male (right) House sparrows seen foraging on the lawn. Photo atttribute Wong Kais. 18 May 2023.

A small flock of House Sparrows Passer domesticus kept themselves busy on a recently mowed grass lawn in Victor Harbor, South Australia. The birds were seen picking up pieces of cut stems, chewing them and throwing the chewed parts out of the beaks. They also tugged at the fresh grass stolons (stems which grow horizontal to the soil surface and are able to grow new plants at short intervals) and chewed on these pieces longer than the dried pieces they sampled from the ground.

The weather was a sunny 14º C, with very light wind on 18 May 2023.

Image 2: Male sparrow chewing on a piece of fresh stolon. Photo attribute Wong Kais. 18 May 2023.
Image 3: A female sparrow digging for grass stolon. Photo attribute Wong Kais. 18 May 2023.

The birds’ actions bring to mind how humans enjoy chewing on cut sugar cane stems for the thirst-quenching sweet juice.

Galahs and parrots (seed eaters) are known to chew on grass stems to supplement their diet with sugars stored in the grass stems. Read this and this post.


  1. General information about House Sparrows Passer domesticus in Australia,parts%20are%20pale%20grey%2Dbrown.
  2. General information about House Sparrows in Australia
  3. Wikipedia


Photographs and videograph © Wong Kais

Text by Teo Lee Wei


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