Difference Between Sparrow and Swallow

Sparrow vs Swallow

Sparrow and swallow are two very different types of birds belong to two families of Class: Aves. Although their names sound a little rhyming, the characteristics of morphology, ethology, reproduction, taxonomic diversity, and mainly ecology are different between sparrows and swallows.


Sparrows are a portion of the taxonomic family called Passeridae. The House sparrow would be the first one that encounters the mind of anyone as soon as the sparrows are considered, yet there are more than 280 described species worldwide. Sparrows are very small in size, and light in weight; the average body length varies from 10 to 17 centimetres and weights ranging between 13 and 40 grams. The stocky body of sparrows would be important to notice, as it could be sometimes used in identification. Sparrows are not very colourfully decorated as most of the other birds such as parrots and toucans. However, yellow with ash or white and brown are usually present in their plumage. They prefer to make their nests in cavities; especially, house sparrows use small crevices in buildings. Additionally, there are small cavities purposely made in the outer walls of houses by some people, so that house sparrows would give company to the people in the house. They decorate their nests with dry grass, hay, feathers, and other lightweight materials. It would be important to state that they never use mud, which may be the reason that sparrows are allowed in the households. However, some sparrows are a little lazy, as they prefer to use abandoned nests.


Swallows have been classified into the Family: Hirundinidae and there are about 70 described species worldwide. Swallows are medium size birds with adults reaching body lengths up to 25 centimetres. Their maximum bodyweight could be about 60 grams, but a few species may be lighter (weighing only 10 grams) than the large ones. The long wings of swallows are of a characteristic shape, which is more or less like two large tick marks placed opposite to each other. Swallows keep flying over water bodies most of the daytime, and they have developed their plumage colouration in such a way that it blends with the background. The dorsal portion is bluish in colour, which blends with the blue colour of the water body, and the belly is white or grey. Some species of swallows have greenish dorsal sides, and they usually live more around ground than on water. Swallows make mud nests more often than not. However, swallow nests are found in crevices and cavities in walls, cliffs, buildings and trees, as well.

What is the difference between Sparrow and Swallow?

• Sparrow belongs to the Family: Passeridae while swallows are members of the Family: Hirundinidae.

• Taxonomic diversity is much higher in sparrows than in swallows.

• Swallows are larger and heavier than sparrows.

• Sparrows have a stocky body while swallows have an elongated body.

• Swallows make mud nests, but sparrows never use mud.

• Swallows usually fly around water bodies whereas sparrows prefer to fly around terrestrial ecosystems.

• Wings are characteristically elongated in swallows but not in sparrows.