Family Old World Sparrows (Passeridae)

Least Concern

Swahili Sparrow (Passer suahelicus)


French: Moineau swahili German: Suahelisperling Spanish: Gorrión swahili

Passer griseus suahelicus


, 1904,

Bussissi, Mwanza district, northern Tanzania


Part of the “P. griseus group”; see remarks under that species. Monotypic.


S Kenya and N Tanzania S, patchily, to SW Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

15–16 cm; 20–30 g. Head and neck to back and underparts are greyish-brown, rump chestnut-red; upperwing and tail brown, chestnut-red shoulder, white tips of... read more


Song described as a varied medley of soft calls, e.g. "chup chu-weew chop wor chu-weet chip... read more


Grassland with scattered trees and light woodland, particularly near water, also cultivated land... read more

Food and feeding

Few data. Mainly seeds; also takes scraps near villages, and around lodges of game parks. Recorded feeding on insects.


Jan–May, apparently coinciding with rains. Nest an untidy domed structure, tunnel entrance at side, placed in hole in tree or house,... read more


Resident; local movements during rains.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Generally common. Poorly known species; requires study.

Recommended citation

Summers-Smith, D. (2019). Swahili Sparrow (Passer suahelicus). 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 7 December 2019).