Family Old World Sparrows (Passeridae)

Least Concern

Chestnut Sparrow (Passer eminibey)


French: Moineau d’Emin German: Maronensperling Spanish: Gorrión castaño

Sorella Emini Bey


, 1880,

Lado, southern South Sudan


Formerly placed in a monotypic genus, Sorella. Monotypic.


SW Sudan, N & S South Sudan, Ethiopia (Rift Valley), N & NE Uganda and much of Kenya S to NE, C & E Tanzania; also recently recorded, probably breeding, in C Chad#R#R.

Descriptive notes

10·5–11·5 cm; 12–17 g. Male is dark chestnut, becoming darker and browner on face; blackish-brown wing and tail with chestnut edges, small pale... read more


Song thin, high-pitched "tchiweeza tchiweeza tchi-tchi-tchi-tchi see-see-see-see-seerichi... read more


Dry acacia (Acacia) savanna near swamps or habitations, up to 2200 m.

Food and feeding

Mostly granivorous, taking seeds of grasses and weeds; also household scraps. Nestlings fed with insects, including small beetles (... read more


Breeding coincides with rains and can take place at any time of year, apparently stimulated by breeding activity of weavers (Ploceidae).... read more


Nomadic, wandering extensively in large flocks outside breeding season.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Local, but common.

Recommended citation

Summers-Smith, D. (2020). Chestnut Sparrow (Passer eminibey). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 January 2020).