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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

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

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

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

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

Geoff Lockwood's Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Year Published: - Page: 94

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

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

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

List of South African Birds

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