Cape Sparrow

© Karl Svendsen

Name

Cape sparrow (Passer melanurus)

Cape Sparrow Appearance

The Cape sparrow is a small bird of 15 cm. Male and female birds differ slightly in appearance. The Cape sparrow has a distinctive white ā€œCā€, extending from the eye and down onto the neck. The male has a black head and the mantle is grey, the back, rump and upper-wing are bright rufous and the under-parts white. The eyes are brown and the bill is horn coloured. The female is similar, but with duller plumage, with the head and breast a darker grey.

Cape Sparrow Diet

The Cape sparrow feeds mostly on seeds, fruit and other plant material but will also eat insects. This sparrow feeds mainly on the ground.

Cape Sparrow Breeding

The cape sparrow is usually monogamous and breeds in loose colonies of around 100 birds. The nest is built by both parents in bushes, trees, pipes and other man-made structures. Typically, 3 or 4 eggs are laid and incubated by both parents for between 12 and 24 days. The chicks fledge at around 17 days.

The Diderick cuckoo is a brood parasite of the Cape sparrow.

Cape Sparrow Behaviour

Cape sparrows are social birds and live in flocks of up to 200 birds. Outside of the breeding season, the flocks are nomadic.

Cape Sparrow Threats

None

Cape Sparrow Distribution and Habitat

The Cape sparrow is a near endemic to the southern Africa region and is common across the area. It can be found in nearly all types of habitat, including arid and semi-arid woodland regions. This sparrow has adapted well to living in urban areas.