Grey-headed Sparrow (Passer griseus) aka Northern Grey-headed Sparrow or Common Grey-headed Sparrow
Appearance Grey-headed Sparrows are small, 6" (15cm) birds. They have a grey head, with an off-white throat, light-brown bill and brown eyes. The upper parts are a redish-brown to brown (depending on sub-species, see 'Resident', below). Underparts are varying shades of pale grey.
Habits Grey-headed Sparrows are usually seen in pairs or small family groups that are comfortable in the company of humans. Quite often seen in the company of other Sparrows or Weavers. They nest in holes, usually in cavities of trees - or in the thatched roof of a building.
Diet Grey-headed Sparrows are omnivorous, eating seeds, as well as insects and invertebrates.
Resident Grey-headed Sparrows are common all over Kenya and seen in open savanna as well as bushed and wooded grasslands below 2,500 metres. There are four sub-species seen in Kenya: Passer griseus ugandae has a grey head, dull redish to redish-brown back and white throat - seen to west of Great Rift Valley. Passer griseus gongonensis (aka Parrot-billed Sparrow), is larger than above, has more evenly grey underparts and has a thicker bill - seen inside and to the east of the Great Rift Valley. Passer griseus swainsoni (aka Swainson's Sparrow), has a dull brown back, darker grey underparts, a white belly and off-white throat - seen near border with Ethiopia. Passer griseus suahelicus (aka Swahili Sparrow), has uniformly grey head and back and the smallest bill of the group. It has a white bar in the wing that is not always easy to see - seen around Mara GR.
Extra Grey-headed Sparrow Facts The Grey-headed Sparrow's bill goes black during the breeding season, regardless of sub-species.
Photographs Photographed at Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy.