Alternative names: Common Grey-headed Sparrow; Grey-headed Sparrow
- Passer griseus
14 - 15cm.
- Ash-grey head and neck
- Grey-brown mantle and upper back
- Dull chestnut rump and lower back
- Cinnamon-red shoulder
- Rusty upperwing-coverts
- Variable white inner median coverts, creating a white patch
- Brown tail
- White chin and throat
- Black to brownish-horn bill
Sexes similar. Juveniles are duller and browner and have no white in wing-coverts.
Widespread in central and western Africa.
Common in its range and currently spreading to east and southeast.
Three subspecies recognized:
- P. g. laeneni from Mali and Burkina Faso est to western Sudan and south to northern Cameroon
- P. g. griseus from Senegal and southern Mauritania east to Ivory Coast and to southern Sudan, south to northern Gabon and extreme northern Central African Republic
- P. g. ugandae in northern Ethiopia, northern Eritrea and southeast Sudan south to Angola, extreme northern Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Zimbabwe
Occurs in grassland savanna, light woodland, cultivated areas and in and around human habitations. Found from sea-level up to 2500m.
Feeds mainly on seeds of grasses and cultivated cereals. Takes also fruits and household scrap. Nestlings are fed with insects.
Usually seen in pairs or small groups, outside breeding season in larger flocks.
Breeds all year, coinciding with local rains. Prefers loose colonies. The nest is a dome with a side entrance, made of dry grass. It's placed in a tree, a tree hole or a hole in a building. Lays 3 - 4 eggs.
A nomadic species.
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2021) Northern Grey-headed Sparrow. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 9 March 2021 from https://www.birdforum.net/wiki/Northern_Grey-headed_Sparrow