Family Old World Sparrows (Passeridae)

Least Concern

Socotra Sparrow (Passer insularis)


French: Moineau de Socotra German: Sokotrasperling Spanish: Gorrión de Socotora

Passer insularis

P. L. Sclater and Hartlaub

, 1881,

Socotra Island


See P. motitensis. Present species until recently included P. hemileucus as a race; see latter. Monotypic.


Socotra I, including islets of Samha and Darsa.

Descriptive notes

13–14 cm; 20–35 g. Male has forehead to hindneck and entire upperparts grey, prominent black eyestripe, broad rufous-chestnut band from above eye and in crescent around rear... read more


Dry chirping calls, "cheep", "chee-cheep", "chip" and "jip... read more


Semi-arid scrub and woodland, also in palm groves, around human settlements, and arid limestone... read more

Food and feeding

Little known. Assumed to take seeds of grasses and small plants (cereals not grown on islands where it lives), but some grain seeds may be... read more


Season at least Nov–Jun, with song noted from late Oct, copulation in Feb and Mar, nestbuilding between late Nov and late Mar and... read more


Resident; some local wandering.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Restricted-range species: present in Socotra EBA and breeds in 13 of 21 of the archipelago’s designated IBAs. Abundant on... read more

Recommended citation

Summers-Smith, D. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Socotra Sparrow (Passer insularis). 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 13 December 2019).