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Pale Rockfinch - BirdForum Opus

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Photo by rony_roshtov
Sde Boker, Israel, May 2006

Alternative name: Pale Rock Sparrow; Pale Petronia; Hill Sparrow[2]

Carpospiza brachydactyla


14.5-15.5 cm. A slim, rather featureless sparrow:

  • Greyish-brown upperparts with no obvious features
  • Short, stout bill (dark grey when breeding)
  • Long, triangular-shaped wings recall lark in flight.

Sexes are similar, but juvenile paler, more sandy-colored.


Northern Israel, Lebanon, south-eastern Turkey, Armenia and east to Iran, Turkmenistan and western Afghanistan and parts of the Arabian Peninsula. During the migration period, it may also occur in other parts of the Middle East; winters to northern Africa around the Red Sea.
Locally common to abundant in parts of its range.


A monotypic species.[1]
Originally placed in genus Petronia, later considered to belong to the Carduelis finches but the horny palate and digestive tract confirm it belongs to Passeridae.


Sparsely vegetated regions up to 9,850 ft (3,000 m).


Mainly terrestrial. Outside the breeding season large flocks gather in wheatfields and at water.


Diet consists mainly of seeds but they will eat insects in the breeding season.


The clutch of 4-5 eggs are laid in an open, untidy nest cup of twigs lined with softer material. The nest is placed in a bush or tree close to ground. Incubation 13–14 days, fledging 11–16 days. Incubation by female only, but both sexes feed the young on insects.


Song: a throaty buzz, delivered from a bush or rock.


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6#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
  3. Israbirding.com
  4. Answers.com

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