ABSTRACT

Behavioral plasticity can drive feeding innovations, a frequent trait of urban exploiter species. The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a widespread and abundant urban dweller whose success has often been related to its dietary breadth. Although both formal and informal sources (e.g., internet videos, news, and blogs) have shown meat scavenging behaviors of this sparrow, it has been overlooked in the literature. While it is recognized that this sparrow has a diverse diet in urban settings, quantitative sources report only 3 types of foods (i.e., seeds, plant origin, and invertebrates). Our field observation of a female House Sparrow feeding on a chicken “drumstick” (presumably fibula/tibia) leftover at a greenspace of Manhattan (i.e., High Line), USA, adds to the available formal and informal information regarding the opportunistic scavenging of dressed and cooked meat by these sparrows when available. Thus, our observation adds to the feeding plasticity knowledge of this urban-related invasive bird and suggests the importance of the role of pedestrians in molding House Sparrow diet.

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