Sahel bush sparrow

The Sahel bush sparrow or bush petronia (Gymnoris dentata) is a species of bird in the family Passeridae. It is found in Africa from Mauritania to Guinea and east to Eritrea and the south-western Arabian Peninsula in its natural habitats of dry savanna and subtropical or tropical dry shrubland.

Sahel bush sparrow
Bush petronia (Gymnoris dentata dentata) male
Bush petronia (Gymnoris dentata dentata) female
Male (top image) and females in Senegal (below)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Passeridae
Genus: Gymnoris
G. dentata
Binomial name
Gymnoris dentata
(Sundevall, 1850)
  • Gymnornis dentata
  • Petronia dentata
  • Xanthodira dentata


The Sahel bush sparrow is a small bird with a large, conical beak and a short tail. It grows to a length of about 13 cm (5 in). The male has a grey crown, a wide but ill-defined reddish-brown supercilium and greyish-brown face and throat, surrounding the creamy-white bib. The male's beak is black during the breeding season but horn-coloured during the rest of the year. The plumage on the upper parts and tail is mainly brown, with no white on the tail. The upper throat has an ill-defined yellowish spot and the breast is creamy-buff, becoming whiter on the belly. The female is similar, but has a better-defined white supercilium, brownish rather than grey crown and face, horn-coloured beak all year round and two white wing bars. The juvenile is similar to the female.[2]

Distribution and habitat

This bush sparrow is found in suitable habitat in a broad belt across the Sahel region of Africa, its range extending from Senegal to Eritrea and Yemen. Its habitat is typically semi-arid savannah with scattered trees and cultivated clearings near settlements, at altitudes up to about 1,700 m (5,600 ft).[3]


This species has an extremely wide range and is described as common in some parts of its range. The population seems to be steady and no specific threats have been identified, so the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern".[1]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2016). "Gymnoris dentata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2019.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  2. ^ Porter, Richard; Aspinall, Simon (2010). Birds of the Middle East. A&C Black. p. 374. ISBN 978-0-7136-7602-0.
  3. ^ Summers-Smith, D. (2019). "Sahel Bush-sparrow (Gymnoris dentata)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. Retrieved 31 May 2019.

Gymnoris is a genus of passerine birds in the sparrow family Passeridae. Three species are found in Africa while the yellow-throated sparrow ranges from Turkey to India.

The genus was introduced by the English zoologist Edward Blyth in 1845 with the yellow-throated sparrow as the type species. The name combines the Ancient Greek words gumnos "bare" or "naked" and rhinos "nostrils".There are four species recognized:

These species are sometimes placed in the genus Petronia.

Oti Valley Faunal Reserve

The Oti Valley Faunal Reserve is a protected area in northeastern Togo, one of four Important Bird Areas (IBA) in the country. The site is mainly savanna and seasonally inundated floodplains on either side of the Oti River. It has a total area of 147,840 hectares (365,300 acres) and is located at 10°35'N and 0°40'E.


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.

Sparrows (family: Passeridae)

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