The relative abundance of invasive House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) in an urban environment in South Africa is determined by land use.
The House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, is invasive in many areas of the world, but is listed as a species of conservation concern in parts of its native range. This study assessed the effect of land-use type on the relative abundance of House Sparrows in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, an urban area where they are invasive. It was predicted that House Sparrows in an urban environment would be more abundant at shopping malls compared with other habitats. Spot counts were done at shopping malls, schools, factories and suburban gardens throughout the year. House Sparrows were recorded frequently at shopping malls and rarely in suburban gardens. Type of urban land use appears to determine food and possibly nest site availability. This in turn affects the density, relative abundance, and distribution of House Sparrows. There appears no need to regulate this urban House Sparrow population because it has different feeding and breeding requirements to native birds, is not predatory, and is largely restricted to heavily transformed landscapes.