Iago sparrow

The Iago sparrow (Passer iagoensis), also known as the Cape Verde or rufous-backed sparrow, is a passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae. It is endemic to the Cape Verde archipelago, in the eastern Atlantic Ocean near western Africa. Females and young birds have brown plumage with black marks above, and a dull grey underside, and are distinguished from other species of sparrow by their large, distinct supercilium. Males have a brighter underside and bold black and chestnut stripes on their head. At 12.5–13 centimetres (4.9–5.1 in) long, it is a smaller sparrow. This bird's vocalisations are mostly variations on its chirp, which differ somewhat between males and females.

The Iago sparrow was once thought to be most closely related to the rufous sparrows, a group of species within the genus Passer which live in similar habitats on continental Africa. Though the Iago sparrow is closest to the rufous sparrows in appearance, it has a number of crucial differences in morphology and behavior, and is separated by thousands of kilometres. It may in fact be more closely related to the house sparrow and Spanish sparrow. In Cape Verde it occurs on all but one island, and on most of them it is quite common. The Iago sparrow occurs in most of the habitats that are available in its range, such as lava plains, rocky hills, and gorges; however, the house sparrow and Spanish sparrow are typically present instead in denser settlements and richer cultivated areas respectively. Because the Iago sparrow is not under any serious threats, it is assessed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Iago sparrow
Passer iagoensis male
Passer iagoensis female
Male (above) and female (below) on Sal
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Passeridae
Genus: Passer
P. iagoensis
Binomial name
Passer iagoensis
(Gould, 1837)
  • Pyrgita iagoensis Gould, 1837
  • Passer brancoensis Oustalet, 1883
  • Passer erthrophrys Temminck


The Iago sparrow is a small sparrow, 12.5–13 centimetres (4.9–5.1 in) long, with a wing length of 5.5–6.9 centimetres (2.2–2.7 in).[3] Its plumage is similar to that of the house sparrow, and it similarly is sexually dimorphic. The male has a black or greyish-black crown and eyestripe, a grey nape and a small patch of white on the lower forehead. The sides of its head, especially above the eye, are a rich cinnamon colour. The scapulars are white and brown, while the rest of the upperparts are brown, streaked with black and beige. The cheeks and underparts are pale grey, and the throat and chin are marked with a small black bib. The female is grey-brown, with black-streaked wings and breast, and pale grey underparts. It is very similar to the female house sparrow but has a more apparent pale supercilium (stripe over the eye). The juvenile resembles the adult female, but young males are more chestnut from an early age, with a trace of a black bib on the chin.[3][4] In 1898, ornithologist Boyd Alexander reported that adults begin moulting in early February, and some birds were still in moult by late May.[5][6]

The Iago sparrow's vocalisations include calls, varying between the sexes, elaborations of these called 'songs', and an alarm call. Calls are chirps, somewhat similar to those of other sparrows, the usual version made by males described as a "twangy" cheesp or chew-weep, and that of females described as a "more sibilant" chisk. The song is a long, elaborated series of call notes, and is made by breeding males in their nests. An alarm call like that of other sparrows, transcribed chur-chur-chur, is also used.[6]


PasserIagoensis cropped
Illustration of a male by John Gould

The Iago sparrow was first collected by Charles Darwin during the first stop of the second voyage of HMS Beagle at the island of Santiago (St. Iago).[2] It was described for him in 1837 by zoologist John Gould, in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, and given the name of Pyrgita iagoensis.[7] By the time Gould wrote The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle with Darwin and three other zoologists in 1841, he had placed the Iago sparrow in the genus Passer, where it remains.[2][4] The genus, among the sparrows of the Old World in the family Passeridae, also contains at least 20 other species, among them the house sparrow and Eurasian tree sparrow.[8]

Within its genus, the Iago sparrow has been considered one of the African 'rufous sparrows', a group which also includes species such as the great sparrow (Passer motitensis). These birds were usually treated as distinct species until Reginald Ernest Moreau, writing in the 1962 Check-list of the Birds of the World, lumped the Iago sparrow and the mainland rufous sparrows as the single species Passer motitensis.[2] This taxonomy was followed frequently until J. Denis Summers-Smith, a world authority on sparrows, argued in the 1980s that the Iago sparrow's many differences in morphology and behaviour, and separation from the other rufous sparrows by about 5,000 kilometres (3,100 mi), are sufficient grounds for species status.[2][8][9] Studies of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA have since suggested it may be a close relative of the house sparrow and the Spanish sparrow and not the rufous sparrows.[10]

French ornithologist Émile Oustalet described a specimen from Branco as a separate species Passer brancoensis in 1883,[2][11] which was recognised as the subspecies Passer iagoensis brancoensis by W. R. P. Bourne, who claimed to observe differences between Iago sparrows from different islands.[12] According to Bourne, birds of Passer iagoensis iagoensis on more wooded islands in the south are darker and larger, and also behave more like house or Spanish sparrows, competing with them better in human-altered habitats.[12] He later wrote that the variations he saw comprised two clinal trends, of increasing darkness towards the south, and of smaller size further from the continental coast.[13] Charles Vaurie, examining differences in plumage and measurements of specimens in major museums, did not find any significant variation, and neither Vaurie nor Summers-Smith recognised any subspecies.[2][14]

Distribution and habitat

The Iago sparrow is endemic to the archipelago of Cape Verde. It is common on most islands, excluding Fogo (from which it is absent) and Santa Luzia, Branco and Sal (on which it is scarce).[3][15] The Iago sparrow is found commonly in a variety of habitats, including flat lava plains, coastal cliffs, gorges, and the edges of farmland, at altitudes of up to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft). It also occurs in settled areas and gardens, where it may overlap somewhat with the house sparrow, but usually not with the Spanish sparrow. The Spanish sparrow occurs in richer cultivated land with larger trees and villages, restricting the Iago sparrow to more arid cultivated land with smaller trees. In settlements where both the house sparrow and Iago sparrow occur, house sparrows tend to occupy the denser areas, while Iago sparrows are found primarily around trees and open spaces.[16] In agricultural areas the Iago sparrow may do some damage to crops, mostly by eating buds and shoots.[3] The Iago sparrow is highly common within its limited range, though its exact population is not known. Though the size of its range means it may be at risk to unpredicted changes in its environment, it is assessed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.[1]

In May 2013 four vagrant Iago sparrows were seen at Hansweert, in the Netherlands, having flown onto a ship as it passed by the island of Raso.[17]


Passer iagoensis Sal
A female foraging, on Sal

The Iago sparrow is gregarious while foraging and breeding. Outside of the breeding season, Iago sparrows are always in flocks, which may be of considerable size. It flocks with other birds, even warblers such as the blackcap and the Cape Verde warbler.[18][19] The Iago sparrow is not very shy toward humans, allowing them to approach, even while it is at its nest.[18] Birds on the isolated and uninhabited island of Raso will even perch on human visitors with little fear.[17][20] Because of the scarcity of water to drink in its habitat, it has a strong attraction to sources of water, and large flocks may congregate when humans provide water it can drink. It often is seen dust bathing in small groups, a behavior necessary to keep clean with a paucity of water.[18]

The adult Iago sparrow feeds mainly on the seeds of grass and grain (the main cereal crop grown in Cape Verde is maize), but also on insects and plant shoots. They can do damage to crops by eating young leaves, and like house sparrows will eat the food scraps available near houses. Nestlings, by contrast to adults, are fed almost exclusively on insects, especially caterpillars, flies, and orthopterans.[5][6][21] The Iago sparrow forages mostly on the ground, moving restlessly whilst clinging to the ground like a mouse.[18]


The breeding season generally begins in August and September with the onset of the humid season, but the climate during a particular year may change the timing of breeding. On Cima, W. R. P. Bourne observed females remaining in flocks while males began to take up locations on rocky slopes from which they could sing. The breeding season is typically long enough that some pairs may be fledging young before others even start to build a nest; the greatest number of pairs breed when rains come, in October to November. Unmated males attract females by calling out beside a prospective nest site. When approached by a female, the displaying male will increase the intensity of his calls and hop around her while crouching with chestnut rump- and shoulder-feathers exposed. The male begins building the nest, but once a pair is formed both birds of the pair participate in the nest's construction and remain close together.[12][18] Copulation occurs after the nest has been constructed, while the female is dominant in the pair for a time. The male invites the female to copulate by giving the crouching courtship display, and after ignoring and pecking at him initially, the female solicits copulation by crouching herself. When four vagrants were in the Netherlands in May 2013, a male was seen mounting a second male, apparently after the second crouched submissively to resolve a fight between them. This is the only recorded case of homosexual behaviour in sparrows.[22]

Nests are usually built a few metres apart in loose colonies of at most about 10 pairs, although sometimes pairs nest alone. The nest may be built in a range of habitats, and usually is built as a cup in a hole or crevice in a cliff or a wall. They may use suitable human-built structures, such as house eaves and streetlights. The nest is an open structure made of grass, lined with feathers and hairs, packed densely for compactness. Some ornithologists have reported this bird building domed nests in acacia trees, but these records may reflect confusion with the Spanish sparrow.[18] The average clutch contains three to five eggs.[3] Both sexes incubate the eggs and bring food to their young, but females do more. Eggs are incubated for short spells, around 10 minutes, and males incubate for shorter periods and less often. Though the male accompanies the female when she finds food and brings it to their nestlings, he less often brings any himself; once the young fledge and leave the nest the male is more active feeding them.[18]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Passer iagoensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Summers-Smith 1988, pp. 93–95
  3. ^ a b c d e Clement, Harris & Davis 1993, pp. 455–456
  4. ^ a b Gould 1838, p. 95
  5. ^ a b Alexander, Boyd (1898). "An Ornithological Expedition to the Cape Verde Islands". The Ibis. 7th series. 4: 74–118.
  6. ^ a b c Summers-Smith 1988, p. 100
  7. ^ Gould, J. (1837). "Exhibition of Mr. Darwin's Birds, and description of a New Species of Wagtail (Motacilla leucopsis) from India". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. V: 77–78.
  8. ^ a b Summers-Smith, J. Denis (2009). "Family Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)". In del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew; Christie, David (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-84-96553-50-7.
  9. ^ Summers-Smith, D. (1984). "The Rufous Sparrows of the Cape Verde Islands". Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 104 (4): 138–141.
  10. ^ González, Javier; Siow, Melanie; Garcia-del-Rey, Eduardo; Delgado, Guillermo; Wink, Michael (2008). Phylogenetic relationships of the Cape Verde Sparrow based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA (PDF). Systematics 2008, Göttingen. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2011.
  11. ^ "Description et Énumération des Espèces". Actes de la Société Linnéenne de Bordeaux (in French). 38. 1883.
  12. ^ a b c Bourne, W. R. P. (1955). "The Birds of the Cape Verde Islands". Ibis. 97 (3): 508–556. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1955.tb04981.x.
  13. ^ Bourne, W. R. P. (1957). "Additional Notes on the Birds of the Cape Verde Islands, with Particular Reference to Bulweria mollis and Fregata magnificens". Ibis. 99 (2): 182–190. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1957.tb01945.x.
  14. ^ Vaurie, C. (1958). "The Rufous-backed Sparrows Passer iagoensis of the Cape Verde Islands". Ibis. 100 (2): 275–276. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1958.tb08798.x.
  15. ^ Snow & Perrins 1998
  16. ^ Summers-Smith 1988, pp. 97–98
  17. ^ a b Janse, Wietze (20 May 2013). "Kaapverdische Mus doet even Nederland aan - kades vol met fans!". Dutch Birding (in Dutch).
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Summers-Smith 1988, pp. 98–100
  19. ^ Donald, P. F.; Taylor, R.; de Ponte Machado, M.; Pitta Groz, M. J.; Wells, C. E.; Marlow, T.; Hille, S. M. (2004). "Status of the Cape Verde Cane Warbler Acrocephalus brevipennis on São Nicolau, With Notes On Song, Breeding Behaviour and Threats" (PDF). Malimbus. 26: 34–37.
  20. ^ Spurrell, W. (1988). The Sea Swallow. XXXVII: 16. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ Alexander, Boyd (1898). "Further Notes on the Ornithology of the Cape Verde Islands". The Ibis. 7th series. 4: 277–285.
  22. ^ Moeliker, C. W. (2014). "Homosexual mounting of Iago Sparrows after ship-assisted arrival in the Netherlands" (PDF). Dutch Birding. 36: 172–173. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 August 2014.

Works cited

  • Clarke, Tony; Orgill, Chris; Dudley, Tony (2006). A Field Guide to the Birds of the Atlantic Islands. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 978-0-7136-6023-4.
  • Clement, Peter; Harris, Alan; Davis, John (1993). Finches and Sparrows: an Identification Guide. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-03424-9.
  • Gould, John (1838). Darwin, Charles (ed.). The Zoology of the H.M.S. Beagle, under the command of Captain Robert Fitzroy, R. N., during the years 1832 to 1836. Part III: Birds. London: Smith, Elder, and Company.
  • Snow, D. W.; Perrins, C. M. (1998). The Birds of the Western Palearctic. 2 (Concise ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-854099-1.
  • Summers-Smith, J. Denis (1988). The Sparrows. illustrated by Robert Gillmor. Calton, Staffs, England: T. & A. D. Poyser. ISBN 978-0-85661-048-6.
  • Williamson, M.H. (1996). Technology in the Third Millennium. Volume 15: Biological Invasions. Springer. ISBN 978-0-412-59190-7.

External links

Cape Verde

Cape Verde ( (listen)) or Cabo Verde ( (listen), ) (Portuguese: Cabo Verde, pronounced [ˈkabu ˈveɾdɨ]), officially the Republic of Cabo Verde, is an island country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. It forms part of the Macaronesia ecoregion, along with the Azores, Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Savage Isles. In ancient times these islands were referred to as "the Islands of the Blessed" or the "Fortunate Isles". Located 570 kilometres (350 mi) west of the Cape Verde Peninsula off the coast of Northwest Africa, the islands cover a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi).

The Cape Verde archipelago was uninhabited until the 15th century, when Portuguese explorers discovered and colonized the islands, establishing the first European settlement in the tropics. Ideally located for the Atlantic slave trade, the islands grew prosperous throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, attracting merchants, privateers, and pirates. The end of transatlantic slavery in the 19th century led to economic decline and emigration. Cape Verde gradually recovered as an important commercial center and stopover for shipping routes. Incorporated as an overseas department of Portugal in 1951, the islands continued to campaign for independence, which was peacefully achieved in 1975.

Since the early 1990s, Cape Verde has been a stable representative democracy, and remains one of the most developed and democratic countries in Africa. Lacking natural resources, its developing economy is mostly service-oriented, with a growing focus on tourism and foreign investment. Its population of around 540,000 is mostly of mixed European, Moorish, Arab and African heritage, and predominantly Roman Catholic, reflecting the legacy of Portuguese rule. A sizeable diaspora community exists across the world, slightly outnumbering inhabitants on the islands.

Historically, the name "Cape Verde" has been used in English for the archipelago and, since independence in 1975, for the country. In 2013, the Cape Verdean government determined that the Portuguese designation Cabo Verde would henceforth be used for official purposes, such as at the United Nations, even in English contexts. Cape Verde is a member of the African Union.

Great sparrow

The great sparrow (Passer motitensis), also known as the southern rufous sparrow, is found in southern Africa in dry, wooded savannah and towns.This is a 15–16 cm long sparrow superficially like a large house sparrow. It has a grey crown and rear neck and rufous upperparts.While in the past some authorities considered this species and several related species of 'rufous sparrow' on the African mainland to be the same as the Iago sparrow of Cape Verde, they do not appear to be so closely related as thought. A few currently recognise only some of the rufous sparrows as separate from the great sparrow, but the Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International recognise the Socotra sparrow, Kenya sparrow, Kordofan sparrow, and Shelley's sparrow as separate species.

Ilhéu de Cima

Ilhéu de Cima is an uninhabited island of Cape Verde. It is part of the Ilhéus do Rombo islet group, located 4 km east of Ilhéu Grande, the other main islet of the group, and 8 km northeast of the island Brava. They are administratively a part of the Brava municipality. Surrounding islets include Ilhéu Luiz Carneiro, Ilhéu Sapado and Ilhéu do Rei. The island is part of the integral nature reserve Ilhéus do Rombo, famous for its seabirds colonies.The southern part of the islet is the highest, culminating at 77 m. This is where the Ilhéu de Cima Lighthouse is situated, the only building on the island. The islet was mentioned as "Ghuay" in the 1747 map by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin.Notable endemic fauna found on the island include the Iago sparrow. In the mid-1950s, W. R. P. Bourne observed females remaining in flocks while males began to take up locations on rocky slopes from which they could sing. A species of sponge Esperiopsis cimensis was found in the deep waters surrounding the islet.

Ilhéu de Curral Velho and adjacent coast Important Bird Area

The Ilhéu de Curral Velho and adjacent coast Important Bird Area lies in the southeastern part of the island of Boa Vista in the Cape Verde archipelago off the coast of north-west Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a 986 ha site consisting of the Ilhéu de Curral Velho, as well as the area opposite it on Boa Vista centred on the deserted village of Curral Velho. It was designated as a Ramsar wetland of international importance on July 18, 2005.

The 0.77 ha (1.9-acre) Ilhéu de Curral Velho is an unvegetated, heavily eroded, calcareous rock, 15 metres (49 ft) in height, lying some 500 m (1,600 ft) off the southernmost point of Boavista. The island and a 41 ha marine area around it are a protected nature reserve (Reserva Natural Integral Ilhéu de Curral Velho).The area on the main island consists of sand-dunes, a lagoon and an oasis with a vegetation dominated by palm trees, acacias and Tamarix senegalensis. It has a typical arid-zone flora and fauna. The sandy beaches are important nesting sites for threatened Hawksbill and Loggerhead sea turtles. Lizards found in the area include Chioninia stangeri and Hemidactylus bouvieri. The islet is a nesting area for the brown booby, magnificent frigatebird and Cape Verde shearwater. Birds breeding on the adjacent mainland coast include Iago sparrow, common kestrel, common quail, cream-colored courser, Kentish plover and many other species.

List of birds by common name

In this list of birds by common name, a total of 9,722 extant and recently extinct bird species are recognised, belonging to a total of 204 families.

List of birds of Cape Verde

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Cape Verde. The avifauna of Cape Verde include a total of 187 species, of which four are endemic, three have been introduced by humans and 75 are rare or accidental. One species listed is extirpated in Cape Verde and is not included in the species count. Four species are globally threatened.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 6th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Cape Verde.

The following tags have been used to highlight several categories. The commonly occurring native species do not fall into any of these categories.

(A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Cape Verde

(E) Endemic - a species endemic to Cape Verde

(I) Introduced - a species introduced to Cape Verde as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions

(Ex) Extirpated - a species that no longer occurs in Cape Verde although populations exist elsewhere

List of endemic birds of the Western Palearctic

The following is a list of the restricted-range endemic bird species found in the Western Palearctic region:

Algerian nuthatch

Atlantic canary

Balearic warbler

Berthelot's pipit

Blue chaffinch

Bolle's pigeon

Cape Verde swamp warbler

Caucasian black grouse

Caucasian snowcock

Corsican finch

Corsican nuthatch

Cyprus warbler

Cyprus wheatear

Fuerteventura chat

Iago sparrow

Krüper's nuthatch

Laurel pigeon

Madeira firecrest

Plain swift

Raso lark

Scottish crossbill

Spanish imperial eagle

Tenerife goldcrest

Trocaz pigeonIn addition the following species are endemic to the region:

Northern bald ibis

Rock partridge

Red-legged partridge

Barbary partridge

Cory's shearwater

Cape Verde shearwater

European storm-petrel

European shag

Red kite

Levant sparrowhawk

Mediterranean gull

White-eyed gull

Audouin's gull

Red-necked nightjar

Middle spotted woodpecker

Iberian green woodpecker

European green woodpecker

Levaillant's woodpecker

European crested tit

Sardinian warbler

Dartford warbler

Citril finchThe following are near-endemics

Squacco heron

List of least concern birds

As of May 2019, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists 8405 least concern avian species. 76% of all evaluated avian species are listed as least concern.

No subpopulations of birds have been evaluated by the IUCN.

This is a complete list of least concern avian species evaluated by the IUCN. Where possible common names for taxa are given while links point to the scientific name used by the IUCN.


Passer is a genus of sparrows, also known as the true sparrows. The genus includes the house sparrow and the Eurasian tree sparrow, some of the most common birds in the world. They are small birds with thick bills for eating seeds, and are mostly coloured grey or brown. Native to the Old World, some species have been introduced throughout the world.

Rufous-backed sparrow

Rufous-backed sparrow is a mostly obsolete name for several different birds:

Iago sparrow

Sind sparrow

Rufous sparrow

The rufous sparrows are closely related birds, sometimes considered to be the same species:

Great sparrow

Kenya sparrow

Shelley's sparrow

Kordofan sparrow

Socotra sparrow

Iago sparrow

Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Santo Antão (Portuguese for "Saint Anthony") is the westernmost island of Cape Verde. At 779 km2 (301 sq mi), it is the largest of the Barlavento Islands group, and the second largest island of Cape Verde. The nearest island is São Vicente to the southeast, separated by the sea channel Canal de São Vicente. Its population was 40,547 in 2015, making it the third most populous island of Cape Verde after Santiago and São Vicente. Its largest city is Porto Novo on the south coast (population 9.310 in 2010).

Second voyage of HMS Beagle

The second voyage of HMS Beagle, from 27 December 1831 to 2 October 1836, was the second survey expedition of HMS Beagle, under captain Robert FitzRoy who had taken over command of the ship on its first voyage after the previous captain committed suicide. FitzRoy had already thought of the advantages of having an expert in geology on board, and sought a gentleman naturalist to accompany them as a supernumerary. The young graduate Charles Darwin had hoped to see the tropics before becoming a parson, and accepted the opportunity. He was greatly influenced by reading Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology during the voyage. By the end of the expedition, Darwin had already made his name as a geologist and fossil collector, and the publication of his journal which became known as The Voyage of the Beagle gave him wide renown as a writer.

Beagle sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, and then carried out detailed hydrographic surveys around the coasts of the southern part of South America, returning via Tahiti and Australia after having circumnavigated the Earth. While the expedition was originally planned to last two years, it lasted almost five.

Darwin spent most of this time exploring on land: three years and three months on land, 18 months at sea. Early in the voyage he decided that he could write a book about geology, and he showed a gift for theorising. At Punta Alta he made a major find of gigantic fossils of extinct mammals, then known from only a very few specimens. He ably collected and made detailed observations of plants and animals, with results that shook his belief that species were fixed and provided the basis for ideas which came to him when back in England, and led to his theory of evolution by natural selection.

Sibley-Monroe checklist 17

The Sibley-Monroe checklist was a landmark document in the study of birds. It drew on extensive DNA-DNA hybridisation studies to reassess the relationships between modern birds.

Socotra sparrow

The Socotra sparrow (Passer insularis) is a passerine bird endemic to the islands of Socotra, Samhah, and Darsah in the Indian Ocean, off the Horn of Africa. The taxonomy of this species and its relatives is complex, with some authorities, including BirdLife International, recognising this species and the very similar Abd al-Kuri sparrow, as well as several from mainland Africa, as separate, and others lumping all these species and the probably unrelated Iago sparrow.

Spanish sparrow

The Spanish sparrow or willow sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis) is a passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae. It is found in the Mediterranean region and south-west and central Asia. It is very similar to the closely related house sparrow, and the two species show their close relation in a "biological mix-up" of hybridisation in the Mediterranean region, which complicates the taxonomy of this species.


Sparrows are a family of small passerine birds. They are also known as true sparrows, or Old World sparrows, names also used for a particular genus of the family, Passer. They are distinct from both the American sparrows, in the family Passerellidae, and from a few other birds sharing their name, such as the Java sparrow of the family Estrildidae. Many species nest on buildings and the house and Eurasian tree sparrows, in particular, inhabit cities in large numbers, so sparrows are among the most familiar of all wild birds. They are primarily seed-eaters, though they also consume small insects. Some species scavenge for food around cities and, like gulls or rock doves will happily eat virtually anything in small quantities.

Wildlife of Cape Verde

The wildlife of Cape Verde is spread over its archipelago of ten islands and three islets, which all have parks under their jurisdiction by decree promulgated by the Cape Verde government. Located off the west coast of Africa, the total land area of the island nation is 4,564 square kilometres (1,762 sq mi). The wildlife consists of many tropical dry forest and shrub land, endemic flora and fauna, and rare breeding seabirds and plants, which are unique to this group of islands.Some of the wildlife species of Cape Verde are considered as endemic, evolving over millions of years of isolation; the grey-headed kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala) survived here on insects in the absence of water in the lands of the islands.In the process of development, many lands in the islands were converted to agricultural fields and several hundred varieties of herbaceous plant and tree species were introduced, resulting in depletion of the original vegetation. However, efforts are now underway at reforestation to improve the wildlife of Cape Verde, with reported planting of three million new trees every year (about 7000 per day), with pine, oak, sweet chestnut and acacia as the prominent varieties being planted. Cape Verde is also one of the world's top ten coral reef Biodiversity hotspots.

Sparrows (family: Passeridae)

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