The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

House Sparrow

Afrikaans name: Huismossie

Male House Sparrow at Brighton Beach, Durban

Photo © Steven Herbert

Passer domesticus

Here we have, apparently, the most widely distributed wild bird in the world. It started out in Europe and Asia and now you can find it in North and South America, Africa and Australasia.

Males are slightly bigger than females but they are easy to distinguish with their different plumage. The male sports black and rufous patches while the female is a drab brown. They weigh around 27 grams.

Like its name suggests the House Sparrow is normally found in association with man, but it does occupy natural habitats in some places.

The primary food of the House Sparrow is seeds. It is a regular visitor, or resident, in gardens and will eat food from bird feeders.

They pair for life normally and nest in holes in buildings, banks or anywhere they can find a suitable spot. They lay up to 5 eggs which are whitish with blotches.

Male House Sparrow with some nesting material at Brighton Beach, Durban

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - A male House Sparrow with nesting material

Below - A female House Sparrow (presumably the mate of the male shown above)

Female House Sparrow, South Africa

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 69

World Birds - Author: Brian P. Martin - Published: 1987 - Page: 64

World Birds - Author: Brian P. Martin - Published: 1987 - Page: 69

World Birds - Author: Brian P. Martin - Published: 1987 - Page: 94

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 192

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 333

The Sandton Field Guide - Author: Sandton Nature Conservation Society - Published: 1982 - Page: 63

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 103

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 414

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 710

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 709

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 380

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 556

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 546

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 404

Newmans Garden Birds - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1991 - Page: 110

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 404

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 300

Know your Garden Birds - Author: - Published: 0 - Page: 24

LBJs - Author: Newman, Johnson, Solomon, Masterson - Published: 1998 - Page: 128

Geoff Lockwoods Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Published: 0 - Page: 94

Garden Birds in South Africa - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2017 - Page: 132

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 204

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 24

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 114

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 251

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 77

Common Birds of the North Coast - Author: Bing Comrie - Published: 2005 - Page: 70

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 212

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 208

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Published: 1992 - Page: 108

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 267

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 295


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