Chestnut Sparrow

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Common Name: Chestnut Sparrow
Scientific Name: Passer eminibey

Size: 4.1-4.3 inches (10.5-11 cm)

Habitat: Africa; found in East Africa along a broad band of mostly lower country from Darfur through the Kordofan region, South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya to north-central Tanzania. Its range also extends northeast into the southwest and Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia.

It is found mostly in dry savanna and in fields and villages. It is sometimes found in swamps of papyrus (Cyperus spp.).

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: Unknown amount of mature individuals. Populations appear to be stable.

Diet: Seeds of herbs and grains, but it also eats berries and insects, particularly during the breeding season. While this diet makes it a minor pest in agricultural areas, it also makes it a predator of insect pests.

Nesting: The plumage of the breeding male is mostly a deep shade of chestnut in color with darker coloration on the face, wings, and tail. The breeding male's legs and feet are pale grey. The non-breeding male Chestnut Sparrow has white flecking on the upper parts and much of its plumage is buff or whitish with chestnut crescent markings, until the bright chestnut of the breeding plumage is exposed by wear. The non-breeding male's bill fades to a dusky-tipped horn, similar to that of females, but without dusky tones on the cutting edge of the mandible (lower portion of beak). Females have the same plumage pattern as males, though with somewhat duller coloration. The female has a grey head; buff supercilium, chin, and throat; black and warm brown upper parts; and off-white under parts. The bill of the female is pale yellow with the tip and cutting edge of mandible dusky. Juveniles are dull grey with a brown back, a pale yellow supercilium, and a pale grey bill.

This sparrow is known to parasite the nests of weavers or using their abandoned nests. It will also build its own nests. Nests built by the Chestnut Sparrow, like most sparrow nests, are untidy domed structures which are made of grass and lined with feathers. Its breeding season varies between different regions, following rains, and the breeding seasons of its hosts in areas where it parasitizes nests; as a result it has been recorded breeding in every month of the year across its range. Clutches typically contain three or four eggs, which are ovular, mostly colored white or bluish-white. The incubation period lasts for 18 to 19 days.

Cool Facts: The Chestnut Sparrow is the smallest member of the sparrow family. The basic call of the Chestnut Sparrow is a subdued chirp, with two recorded variations: a scolding threat call, rendered chrrrrit or chrrrrreeeerrrrrrrr and a chew chew flight call. Displaying males give a high twittering trill, rendered as tchiweeza tchiweeza tchi-tchi-tchi-tchi- see-see-see-seeichi.

Found in Songbird Remix Sparrows of the World

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