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Kempton Park

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House Sparrow (Afrikaans: Huismossie)
A smallish sparrow restricted to urban areas. Size 14cm - slightly smaller than a Cape Sparrow.

Species Picture

The House Sparrow has a short, powerful, conical bill. The bill is black in breeding males and greyish-brown in females and non-breeding males. The legs and feet are pinkish-brown.

The Male has grey forehead and crown. The back of the head and back is a rich red-brown colour. There is a black line running through the eye, below which there is a large whitish earpatch. The throat and a upper breast is black, scaled white as it meets the white upper breast. The back and wings are tawny-brown, with some black markings, giving the back a scaled effect. The rump is grey.

The female is light tawny brown on the upperparts, with darker brown markings, giving the bird a scaled effect, the underparts are off-white. It has a pale eye-brow which extends to the back of the head.

Both male and female have a whitish wing bar.

The House Sparrow was introduced to South Africa in the 1890's, this species is now found around virtually all human habitation. It is always associated with human settlement, and does not occur far away from houses or buildings.

It eats seeds, soft buds, fruit, insects, spiders and any food scraps from humans or on bird tables.

The call is a husky, penetrating chi-chip, chichiririp, cheep. The song is a repeated combination of callnotes.

It breeds all months of the year. The nest is an untidy mass of grass, wool, feathers and other soft materials, with side entrance; It is placed usually in a cavity in a building - under eaves or in a thatched roof.

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