About 13 centimetres long, the tree sparrow has a red-brown crown and white cheeks with dark patches. The upper parts are light brown, streaked with black, and the brown wings have white bars.
Tree sparrows do not migrate and can be found throughout Europe in open woodland, usually near cultivated land or human habitation, as well as around houses and gardens.
The tree sparrow typically builds its nest of hay, grass or wool in a tree hollow or rock cavity. It feeds on seeds and grain, eating on the ground in flocks. Nestlings are fed on invertebrates such as woodlice, centipedes and spiders.