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Java Sparrow


Scientific name: Lonchura oryzivora

IUCN World Conservation Status: VULNERABLE

The Java sparrow is about 15–17cm in length and is characterised by its pink beak and grey plumage. It is thought to  have originated on the islands of Java and Bali but is now found throughout Indonesia. Since the 17th century, Java sparrows have appeared in Japanese artworks and paintings, although the oldest records of caged Java sparrows stretch back to the Ming Dynasty (13th to 16th century) in China.

The popularity of this finch as a caged bird has resulted in centuries of intense trapping, causing rapid declines in wild populations.

The Java sparrow population is now less than 10,000 individuals.

Where in the world

The Java Sparrow is native to Indonesia.

Threats in the wild


This bird lives in towns, villages, grassland and woodland. It’s been widely mixed with feral populations and variations are now established in many parts of the world.


Often flocking together, this bird eats grass and seeds. Due to this diet, they have previously been persecuted as an agricultural pest, particularly around rice paddies.


Java sparrows construct nests in trees or buildings, within which females can lay up to 8 eggs. They are a very sociable bird which flock together during and outside of the breeding season.