Southern rufous sparrow

Passer motitensis taxonomy

Pyrgita motitensis A. Smith, 1836, northern Cape Province, South Africa.

other common names

English: Great sparrow; French: Grand moineau; German: Rostsperling; Spanish: Gorrión Grande.

physical characteristics

5.9-6.3 in (15-16 cm); 1.0-1.3 oz (28-37 g). Large, robust sparrow. Male has blue-gray crown and a chestnut band circling the rear of the pale cheek. Female is similar, but less well marked. Juvenile paler.


Widely, but sparsely, distributed in southern Africa.


Dry acacia savanna.


A solitary species.

feeding ecology and diet

Mainly grass seeds. Nestlings are reared on insects.

reproductive biology

Builds domed nest in thorny tree. Two clutches of three to six eggs. Both sexes take part in breeding activities.

conservation status

Not threatened.

significance to humans None known. ♦

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