Family Old World Sparrows (Passeridae)

Least Concern

Pale Sparrow (Carpospiza brachydactyla)


French: Moineau pâle German: Fahlsperling Spanish: Gorrión pálido
Other common names: Pale Rock-sparrow, Pale Rockfinch

Petronia brachydactyla


, 1850,

“Abyssinia, Arabia“= Kunfuda, western Arabia


Similar to cardueline finches (Fringillidae) in breeding details (nest, eggs, appearance of nestling), in having only partial juvenile moult and in song, but differs in details of cranium. Further study required. Monotypic.


SE Turkey, Middle East and Armenia E to Iran, S Turkmenistan, W Afghanistan and perhaps Baluchistan (Pakistan)#R, also erratically in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Oman. Winters mainly in W Arabian Peninsula and NE Africa.

Descriptive notes

13·5–14·5 cm; 21–25 g. Slim, generally rather featureless sparrow with short and stout bill; in flight, long triangular-shaped wings reminiscent of... read more


Call a high-pitched nasal "twee", "zweee" or "twee-oo"; song... read more


Arid regions with sparse bushy vegetation, often in sparsely grassed hilly and mountainous areas,... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly plant matter, especially seeds, including those of cultivated cereals, and green parts of plants; also insects in breeding season.... read more


Thought to be an opportunistic breeder, following exceptional rains, Mar in S of range to Jul in N; single-brooded. In loose colonies. Nest... read more


Migratory. Non-breeding quarters mainly in W Saudi Arabia and NE Africa (EC & E Sudan, Eritrea... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common, and abundant in some parts of range. Flocks of several hundreds can pose a threat as a pest of cereal (millet) cultivation.

Recommended citation

Summers-Smith, D. & de Juana, E. (2020). Pale Sparrow (Carpospiza brachydactyla). 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 20 January 2020).