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Yellow-throated Petronia - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Yellow-throated Bush-Sparrow; South African Petronia; South African Rock-Sparrow

Photo by safariranger
Bateleur, Kruger National Park, South Africa, May 2007
Gymnoris superciliaris

Petronia superciliaris


15 - 16cm (6-6¼ in).

  • Dusky brown above
  • Broad whitish-buff supercilium bordered below by blackish-brown eyestripe
  • Dusky streaked back
  • Pale buffish tips on upperwing-coverts
  • Dark brown tail with narrow pale or warm buffish-brown edges
  • Whitish chin, white throat
  • Inconspicuous yellow spot on lower throat
  • Brownish-grey underparts
  • Robust brown bill with paler lower mandible (more rarely a pink to pale bill)

Sexes similar. Juveniles are like adults but warmer brown and with a buffish supercilium.

Similar species

White-browed Sparrow-Weaver is larger, whiter below, broader white supercilium, and has white rump.


Southern and eastern Africa.
Common to locally uncommon.


Yellow-throated Petronia has previously included Yellow-spotted Petronia and Chestnut-shouldered Petronia which are both sometimes called Yellow-throated Petronia!
Some authorities place this species in genus Petronia.


Four subspecies recognized[1]:

The geographical variation is poorly marked and some authorities treat this species as monotypic.


Dry forests, dry savanna and dry shrubland. Especially in hilly districts. Occurs up to 1500m.



The diet includes seeds, nectar and insects. Forages mainly in higher branches of trees, sometimes on the ground. Usually seen singly, in pairs or small flocks. Outside breeding season also in larger flocks.


Breeding season according to rain. The nest is a loose ball made of grass and feathers. It's placed in a hole in a tree trunk. 3-4 green eggs are laid.


A resident species with some wandering outside breeding season.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. 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
  3. Birdforum thread discussing id of this species

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