• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Cape Sparrow - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 19:15, 5 June 2008 by AlanManson-37216 (talk | contribs) (Category:Passer; edited text & added distribution and taxonomy)
Passer melanurus
Male Cape Sparrow
Photo by Mybs
Cedarberg Wilderness area, Western Cape, South Africa
Female Cape Sparrow
Photo by Alan Manson
Cedara Farm, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Other Names

Deutsch: Kapsperling; Afrikaans: Gewone Mossie


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.


South Africa, Lesotho, western Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, coastal south-western Angola, south-western Zimbabwe.


Passer melanurus has three subspecies:


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.


Forages mainly on the ground for seeds and insects, but also takes fruits, seeds and nectar directly from plants.


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

External Links