Passer griseus (Northern grey-headed Sparrow)
Witkeelmossie [Afrikaans]; Grijskopmus [Dutch];
Moineau gris [French]
Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates) > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Passeridae
Distribution and habitat
Occurs across in sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to
Eritrea, south through Soudan and the DRC to Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and
southern Africa. Here it is locally common in villages and suburbs of certain
cities in northern Botswana and Namibia (both in the west and in the Caprivi
Strip) and north-western Zimbabwe, but also occupying parts of the capital
Harare. It has never been recorded outside man-made habitats in southern Africa.
Predators and parasites
It has been recorded as prey of
Thelotornis capensis (Bird snake).
It mainly eats grass seeds, doing most of its foraging on
the ground and in vegetation, often in mixed-species flocks alongside other
granivorous birds. The following food items have been recorded
in its diet in Ghana (although everything listed occurs in southern Africa):
- grass seeds
- Acacia flowers
- It is a monogamous, usually solitary nester, although it may breed in
- Both sexes construct the nest, which is an untidy mat made of grass and
lined with feathers, typically placed in a tree cavity, either natural or an
abandoned nest of a
barbet, or in a hole in a building,
hollow fence post, horizontal metal pipe or a cavity in a thatch roof. It
may also use the nests of other birds, such as
kingfishers, sometimes evicting them
while they are actively breeding.
- Egg-laying season in Zambia is from July-April, peaking from
- It lays 2-7 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 16
- The chicks are fed by both parents on a diet of insects, leaving the
nest after about 19 days.
Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts
- Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker
Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.