Cover image by Gregg Darling – BirdPix 20396
As its name suggests the Grey-headed Sparrow has a grey head and face with pale grey underparts. Its wings are reddish-brown and darker brown towards the wing tips. It has a distinctive white spot on its shoulders and a white patch under its tail. Males and females are alike. When breeding their bills turn black.
The Southern Grey-headed Sparrow occurs from western and southern Angola through Zambia to southern Africa, where it is fairly common across much of the region, excluding the arid west of Namibia and the arid parts of South Africa. In South Africa it is most common towards the eastern half of the country.
It generally prefers savanna woodland, especially with Acacia trees. It also occupies dry broad-leaved woodland, plantation edges, cultivated land and gardens.
Southern Grey-headed Sparrows eat seeds, fruit, nectar and insects, doing most of their foraging on the ground. They are often in flocks with other granivorous (seed-eating) birds.
Breeding season is from September to June, peaking from about December to April. The nest is built by both sexes. It consists of a simple pad of grass, leaf petioles, weed stems, hair, and feathers. The nest is typically placed in a tree cavity, or in a hole in a wall, a hollow fence post, nest box, under the eaves of a building, or in an old swallow or swift nest.
The chicks are brooded and fed by both adults on a diet of insects. The chicks leave the nest after about 16-19 days. The fledglings remain dependent on their parents for about 14-21 days more, but they still roost in the nest for a further 13-20 days.
Species text from the first Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP1), 1997.
Virtual Museum (BirdPix > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name).
More common names: Gryskopmossie (Afrikaans); Serobele (South Sotho); Moineau sud-africain (French); Graukopfsperling (German).
Recommended citation format: Loftie-Eaton M and Daniel KA 2022. Southern Grey-headed Sparrow Passer diffusus. Bird Feeder Project. Biodiversity and Development Institute. Available Online at http://thebdi.org/2022/11/08/southern-grey-headed-sparrow-passer-diffusus/