- Passer melanurus
Length 14-16 cm, mass 20-38 g.
Adult male: Head black with broad white semicircles from behind eyes to side of throat. Nape and mantle greyish, merging into rufous or chestnut back and rump.
Adult female: Similar to the male, but with a grey and white head.
Passer melanurus has three subspecies:
- P. m. melanurus from much of South Africa;
- P. m. damarensis from Namibia, Botswana, neighbouring parts of South Africa and south-eastern Angola; and
- P. m. vicinus from Lesotho, Swaziland and highlands of South Africa.
The Cape Sparrow lives in dry areas of southern Africa like the arid and semi-arid savanna, dry woodland along drainage lines and seasonal watercourses; also croplands, plantations and copses of alien trees, parks and gardens.
Diet: Forages mainly on the ground for seeds and insects, but also takes fruits, seeds and nectar directly from plants.
Reproduction: The Cape Sparrow nests singly, or in loose colonies (up to 100 pairs; up to 15 nests in one tree). The nest is an untidy mass of grass and other plant material with a tunnel entrance and is thickly lined with feathers or soft plant material. Laying usually August to March (2-6 eggs).
Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ & Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Robert's Birds of Southern Africa, 7th edition. John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa. ISBN 0620340533