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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

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References and further reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone's Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 24

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

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

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

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

Newman's Garden Birds - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 110

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Year Published: 1949 - Page: 333

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

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

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 - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 380

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

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

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

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

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

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

List of South African Birds

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