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Cape Sparrow (Afrikaans: Gewone mossie)
A handsome sparrow of dry country and urban areas. Size 14-16cm - slightly larger than the house sparrow.

Species Picture

The Cape Sparrow has a short, powerful, conical bill. The bill is black in breeding males and dark-grey in females. The legs and feet are brown.

The Male has a black head, throat and upper breast. This is broken by a broad white "C" shape, which runs from behind the eye, to the back of the head and to the upper breast. Females have a similar pattern, but the background colour is grey, and the white "C" is whitish-grey.

The back, mantle and shoulder area of the wing are a bright red-brown colour and there is a broad white wing bar. The main flight feathers (primaries and secondaries) are dark grey, with whitish edges to the feathers, giving the folded wing a mottled look. The rump is also reddish-brown.

The Cape Sparrow is at home in dry thornveld, farmland of the highveld, semi-desert and karoo scrub. It has also adapted well to human settlement and is a common and familiar bird around farmsteads, and in gardens and towns. It is usually seen in pairs or in small parties, although it often forms large flocks in the winter months. It spends much of the time foraging on the ground, moves by hopping and may be seen perched on fences, telephone posts or the roofs of houses.

It eats mainly seeds, but also takes insects, the ovaries of deciduous fruit blossoms and will readily come to feeding trays.

The call is a rolling, musical chreep, chirreep, chirrichreep. The song is a repeated jerky rolling chirps, varying in pitch.

It breeds all months of the year. The nest is a large untidy hollow ball of grass, weeds, feathers, string, cotton, cloth and other soft material. It has a side entrance tunnel and is usually placed in a tree or bush.

Sparrow Song

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