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Somali Sparrow - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 12:36, 6 August 2010 by Wintibird (talk | contribs) (completed)
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Passer castanopterus


13 - 14cm


  • Bright chestnut forehead to hindneck (brighter in fulgens)
  • Black lores and small area behind eye
  • Pale creamy grey ear-coverts and cheek (with yellow wash in fulgens)
  • Grey upperparts
  • Mantle and back heavily streaked black
  • Bright chestnut upperwing-coverts and most of scapulars
  • Blackish flight-feathers
  • Dark grey tail
  • Black chin and throat to uppermost breast
  • Off-white to pale buffy grey underparts (strong yellow wash in fulgens)


  • Mostly dull brown
  • Broad pale creamy supercilium
  • Lacking chestnut
  • Sandy-brown upperparts with some black streaking
  • White chin and throat
  • Light buffish underparts

Juveniles are similar to females but paler.


Eastern Africa: found in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya.
Locally common, rare in Kenya.



  • P. c. castanopterus:
  • P. c. fulgens:

Has been considered to form a superspecies or to be conspecific with Russet Sparrow from Asia.


Semi-arid to arid country with acacias. Also in towns and villages.


Feeds on seeds of cultivated cereals and house-hold scraps. Takes also insects.
A gregarious species, outside breeding season encountered foraging in large flocks.
Breeding season from February to July. Breeds solitary or in loose colonies, also in colonies of Arabian Golden Sparrow. The nest is a flask-shaped construction made of grass and placed in a hole in a building or in branches of a thorny tree. Lays 4 - 7 eggs.
A nomadic species.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  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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