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Cape Verde Sparrow - BirdForum Opus

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Alternative name: Iago Sparrow

Photo by AlanR
Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands, April 2011
Passer iagoensis


13 cm in length with a wingspan of 17.5 to 20cm.

  • Black crown, throat and eyestripe
  • Grey nape
  • Rufous sides to the head
  • Whitish cheeks and underparts
  • Reddish-brown upperparts with black streaks

Females are grey-brown above with dark streaks and whitish below. Juveniles are similar to females.

Photo by AlanR
Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands, April 2011

Similar species

The female is very similar to the female of House Sparrow but has a more obvious pale stripe over the eye.


Endemic to the Cape Verde Islands off western Africa. Found on all islands but Fogo.
Common and widespread in its small range.


This is a monotypic species[1].

Forms a superspecies with Socotra Sparrow, Kenya Rufous Sparrow and Southern Rufous Sparrow. All are sometimes considered conspecific and merged in Rufous Sparrow.


Lava plains, desert and dry scrub. Also extending into cultivated land and villages and towns. In the town of Mindelo breeds together with House Sparrow.


A gregarious species, usually encountered in flocks.
Mainly sedentary.


Feeds mainly on seeds of small plants and domestic scrap in urban areas. The nestlings are fed with caterpillars and grasshoppers.


Breeding season from September to March. The nest is made of grass, lined with hair and feathers and usually built in a hole in a cliff or wall. The female lays three to five eggs.


  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  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

Recommended Citation

External Links

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