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Plain-backed Sparrow - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Pegu Sparrow; Olive-crowned Sparrow; Pegu House Sparrow

Photo by ruchai
Siracha, Thailand, May 2006
Passer flaveolus


14cm (5½ in)


Photo by robby thai
Singburi, Thailand, May 2013
  • Greenish-grey crown to upper mantle
  • Yellowish forehead and side of forecrown
  • Black lores
  • Crescent-shaped chestnut band behind eye around rear of yellow ear-coverts and cheek and extending down to side of neck
  • Chestnut lower mantle, upper back, scapulars and lesser upperwing-coverts
  • Greyish-yellow lower back to uppertail-coverts
  • Dull yellowish to olive median upperwing-coverts
  • Blackish greater coverts with broad pale edges and narrow pale tips
  • Dark grey or grey-brown tail
  • Chin and centre of throat black
  • Pale yellow side of throat and underparts, greyer on breast and flanks
  • Similar in non-breeding plumage but plumage pattern obscured by pale feather tips


  • Plain brownish above
  • Prominent broad buffish supercilium
  • Whitish-yellow to buffish-white chin and throat
  • Very clean appearance

Juveniles resemble females.


Found in southeast Asia from Burma to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, central and south Vietnam and northern peninsular Malaysia.
Locally common. Has spread south along Malay Peninsula as a result of forest clearance.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Occurs in cultivated areas with trees, plantations and small copses, scrub and woodland edges. Overlaps with Eurasian Tree Sparrow at edges of areas inhabited by man. Found from lowlands up to 1500m.



Feeds on vegetable matter like seeds of grasses, cultivated cereals and small herbs. Nestlings are fed with insects.
Forages in small groups in trees and on the ground.


Breeding season from January to July. Breeds in loose colonies of 5 to 10 pairs. The nest is a woven globular structure made of grasses and small twigs. It's placed well hidden in branches of a tree or in a hole in a tree or a building. Lays 3 - 4 eggs.


A nomadic species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. 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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