Southern Grey-headed Sparrow

Passer diffusus

The Southern Grey-headed Sparrow inhabits savanna, woodlands, plantations, agricultural areas and suburbs where it feeds mainly on seeds, fruit, nectar and insects and is often seen in association with other kinds of seed-eating birds, including the very similar Cape Sparrow. Grey-headed Sparrows weigh about 24g and grow to around 15cm in length.

Pairs are monogamous and usually breed well away from others of their kind, although they do form flocks outside the breeding season. Both parents work together to construct the nest, a simple aggregation of matted grass, leaves, stems, hair and feathers in holes in trees, under roofs or in the abandoned nests of other birds. The breeding season stretches from spring to autumn, reaching a peak in summer. The parents take turns to incubate the clutch of 2-6 eggs over a period of 2 weeks. The chicks leave the nest at between 2 and 3 weeks old and remain dependent on their parents for another 3 weeks or so thereafter.

In South Africa, Grey-headed Sparrows can be found in all provinces, representing a rapid range expansion aided by their ability to exploit human habitations for food and nesting. Today, Southern Grey-headed Sparrows are only absent from portions of the arid Northern Cape. Apart from South Africa they are also found in Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. The IUCN considers this species to be of least concern.

 

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22 thoughts on “Southern Grey-headed Sparrow

      1. scrapydo2.wordpress.com

        Mens sal seker die manier van hofmaak kan gebruik om te weet wie die mannetjie is. Ons het hierdie week tuinvoël tel week. y moet een dag heerlik rustig buite vir n uur gaan sit. Kyk en skryf neer watter voëls sien jy in die uur. Ook kan jy voël gelude aanteken. Hul doen dit elke jaar eerste week in Julie. Gaan die naweek my uurtjie invul.

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        1. de Wets Wild Post author

          Dit klink na n wonderlike manier vir gewone burgers om by bewaring en navorsing betrokke te raak!
          Doen hulle iets soortgelyks in die somer, wanneer ek aanneem daar ook n klomp ander voels in New Zealand aankom?

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  1. Anne

    Interestingly enough we seldom have more than one pair of Southern Grey-headed Sparrows in our garden at any one time. They are present throughout the year and I have observed them feeding their young from time to time. It is years since a Cape Sparrow made its appearance in the garden. House Sparrows can be found in abundance in the car park of our local mall.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Interesting what you say about not having seen a Cape Sparrow in your garden of late, Anne, as they seem to be thriving up here. Also last week in the Kalahari we saw such enormous flocks that from a distance we thought they must be queleas from a distance!

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