The Cape sparrow / mossie

Elizabeth Kendall

Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa

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Artist's Description

The Cape sparrow or mossie (Passer melanurus) is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae found in southern Africa. A medium-sized sparrow at 14–16 centimetres (5.5–6.3 in), it has distinctive plumage including large pale head stripes. Both sexes are mostly coloured grey, brown, and chestnut, and the male has some black and white markings on its head and neck. It inhabits semi-arid savannah, cultivated areas, and towns, and ranges from the central coast of Angola to eastern South Africa and Swaziland. Three subspecies are distinguished.

Cape sparrows are primarily granivorous, and also eat soft plant parts and insects. The birds typically breed in colonies and gather in large, often nomadic flocks while not breeding. The nest can be constructed in a variety of locations, in a tree or a bush in a hole or an empty nest of another species.
A painting from a photo I took in my garden in Gauteng, South Africa. Watercolour.

Artwork Comments

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