Family Old World Sparrows (Passeridae)

Least Concern

Yellow-throated Bush-sparrow (Gymnoris superciliaris)


French: Moineau bridé German: Kapsteinsperling Spanish: Gorrión cejudo
Other common names: Yellow-throated Petronia

Gymnorhis [sic] superciliaris


, 1845,

Cape Town, South Africa


Geographical variation rather poorly marked; species sometimes treated as monotypic. Proposed race oraria (described from Magogoni, inland from Dar es Salaam, in E Tanzania) is synonymous with bororensis. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. s. rufitergum (Clancey, 1964) – extreme SE Gabon, S Congo and SW & S DRCongo E to SW Tanzania, S to Angola, NE Namibia and NW Botswana.
  • G. s. flavigula (Sundevall, 1850) – SE Zambia, Zimbabwe, E Botswana and N South Africa.
  • G. s. bororensis (Roberts, 1912) – E Tanzania S to Mozambique, NE South Africa (E Limpopo and NE KwaZulu-Natal) and Swaziland.
  • G. s. superciliaris Blyth, 1845 – E South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal S to Eastern Cape).
  • Descriptive notes

    15–16 cm; 22–30 g. Nominate race is dusky brown above, with prominent broad whitish-buff supercilium from just in front of eye broadening out towards nape,... read more


    Calls include disyllabic "chlee-chlee" or "chew-chew", and single "pick... read more


    Widespread in woodland, savanna, riverine bush and cultivated land, especially in hilly districts;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds, nectar and insects. Forages on ground, but more usually in higher branches of trees. Singly, in pairs and in small groups; small... read more


    Season Aug–Nov in DRCongo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and N South Africa (Limpopo), Oct–Nov in Mozambique, Oct–Jan in E South... read more


    Resident; some local wandering outside breeding season.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally uncommon. Density up to 16 birds/ha. Estimated population in Swaziland 4000 individuals and in S Mozambique 50,000 individuals.

    Recommended citation

    Summers-Smith, D. (2020). Yellow-throated Bush-sparrow (Gymnoris superciliaris). 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 February 2020).