Family Old World Sparrows (Passeridae)

Least Concern

Sahel Bush-sparrow (Gymnoris dentata)


French: Petit Moineau German: Buschsteinsperling Spanish: Gorrión chico
Other common names: Russet-browed Bush-sparrow, Bush Petronia

Xanthodira dentata


, 1850,

Ronga [=Abu Saad], on Blue Nile, Sudan


Race buchanani rather weakly differentiated; species sometimes treated as monotypic. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. d. dentata (Sundevall, 1850) – S Mauritania and Senegambia E in Sahel zone and savanna belt (except S Niger) to S Sudan, South Sudan, W Ethiopia and N Eritrea; also SW Arabia (W Yemen).
  • G. d. buchanani E. J. O. Hartert, 1921 – S Niger (Zinder Province E to L Chad).
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 16–21·5 g. Fairly small sparrow with relatively short tail and long conical bill. Male nominate race is mainly dark brown above, with grey crown separated... read more


    Calls chirping; song slightly rolled "chru-chru-chru-chru-chru-chru-chru", similar to... read more


    Dry and arid areas, wooded savanna to light woodland, and cultivated clearings in vicinity of towns... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small seeds and insects. Obtains food items both from the ground and by searching branches and leaves on trees. Spends most of time in... read more


    Season Nov–Mar over most of range. Solitary. Nest cup-shaped, placed in hole in tree or post or crevice in tree, occasionally a... read more


    Resident and local migrant, wandering widely outside breeding season.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally fairly common in W of range; frequent to common in E, and locally abundant in Eritrea.

    Recommended citation

    Summers-Smith, D. (2020). Sahel Bush-sparrow (Gymnoris dentata). 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 28 February 2020).