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Dead Sea Sparrow - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Scrub Sparrow; Afghan Scrub Sparrow, Yates's Sparrow (yatii)

Photo by Seyed Babak Mus
Dez protected area, southern Iran, March 2007
Passer moabiticus




  • Rufous above with dark streaks
  • Grey white below
  • Grey crown
  • Grey rear neck
  • Grey cheeks
  • Black bib
  • Pale supercilium
  • Sides of neck are yellow


  • Streaked brown back
  • Buffy white below
  • Grey head

Juveniles resemble females but are less bright.


Patchily distributed from southern Turkey (and probably still Cyprus) to Israel, western Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.
Bred in Cyprus from 1973 to the 1980s near Akrotiri but became extinct when nearby lake dried out. Small numbers may still breed on Cyprus.
Some populations migrate south in winter, reaching northeast Egypt (Sinai). Also winter reports from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates, but information about winter range in this area uncomplet. Yatii migrates south to Baluchistan (Pakistan).
Locally common in its range.



2 subspecies accepted[1]:

Yatii is sometimes accepted as full species.


Dry lowlands with vegetation, usually near water. No association with built-up areas or habitations.


A migratory and partially migratory species.


Feeds mainly on seeds. Nestlings are fed with seeds and insects.
Forages in shrub, trees and on the ground. Usually seen in loose flocks.


Breeding season from March to July, may breed up to three times annually. Breeds in loose colonies of 10 to 100 pairs. The nest is a large, ovoid structure with a top entrance, made from dead twigs. It's placed in a tree, usually a dead tree near water. Lays 3 - 5 eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507

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