The Sparrow belongs to the order of the Passerines and the family of the Plocéidae. It can be classified in three species:
- the House sparrow: To pass domesticus
- the Spanish Sparrow: Pass hispaniolensis
- the Desert Sparrow or White Sparrow: Pass simplex
The Spanish Sparrow and its hybrids with the House Sparrow cause significant damage to crops including cereals. At the time of nesting, it feeds and raises these chicks with insects and then with already ripe grains, destroying the ears that break or break. The damage done is such that it sometimes makes the harvest useless. Many other plants are equally damaged at maturity, including sunflowers, textile and forage plants, and vegetable and fruit crops. Finally, the damage caused by consumption at planting time should be added to this list.
At the time of nesting, we know two axes of concentration of the Spanish sparrows:
- South – North axis: Marrakech – El Kelâa , Beni Mellal, Fez
- East – West axis: Oujda, Tangier, Fez, Meknes and Kenitra
Indirect damage is characterized by the installation of sparrows in dormitories or nesting boxes on fruit trees causing the soiling of the fruits by their feces which depreciates their commercial value. On the other hand, olive trees during the flowering, fruit set and ripening periods suffer from the massive gatherings of Spanish sparrow colonies.
As a result, campaigns against sparrows are conducted annually and are mainly aimed at reducing the damage of sparrows on cereal crops and sunflower cultivation by limiting their population.
Plant Protection Services:
- Conduct surveys to delineate sparrow gathering areas (dormitories and nest boxes)
- Organize campaigns of struggle by the establishment of treatment sites.
The fight is carried out in accordance with the Vizial Decree of 11 August 1933 prescribing the measures to be taken with a view to the destruction of sparrows, such as denichage and chemical warfare, the details of which are governed by the Gubernatorial Decrees authorizing the fight against sparrows in the provinces of the Kingdom. Thus, the control methods used against sparrows are:
- Net warfare: it targets the gatherings of sparrow colonies in dormitories near food sites. Nevertheless, it requires knowledge of the behaviour of the sparrow in the places of regroupment and a skilled workforce;
- Control by manual scouting: its main aim is the destruction of eggs and young by farmers;
- Control by poisonous bait: it is applied in winter to fight against domestic and hybrid sparrows. The poisoned bait used consists of wheat grains treated with cyanophos. Poisoned bait is placed in prepared pens;
- chemical control: it aims at the destruction of dormitories and birdhouses by the use of avicides. Treatments are carried out by air or land depending on the areas to be treated and the geographer of the places to be treated.