Old World Sparrows (Passeridae)

Common Grey-headed Sparrow (Passer griseus) - HBW 14, p. 801

French: Moineau gris German: Graukopfsperling Spanish: Gorrión Gris
Other common names: Northern Grey-headed Sparrow

Taxonomy: Fringilla grisea Vieillot, 1817, United States; error = Senegal.
Forms a superspecies with P. swainsonii, P. gongonensis, P. suahelicus and P. diffusus; all are often treated as conspecific, but they appear not to interbreed in at least parts of their ranges where geographical overlap occurs. It is suggested that an earlier population of grey-headed sparrows was split into five groups by a pluvial period in Pleistocene; as climate became drier, these five then spread and again came into contact with one another, but by then had become sufficiently distinct to remain separate, partly through minor habitat preferences and morpholo.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Fringilla grisea Vieillot, 1817, United States; error = Senegal.
Forms a superspecies with P. swainsonii, P. gongonensis, P. suahelicus and P. diffusus; all are often treated as conspecific, but they appear not to interbreed in at least parts of their ranges where geographical overlap occurs. It is suggested that an earlier population of grey-headed sparrows was split into five groups by a pluvial period in Pleistocene; as climate became drier, these five then spread and again came into contact with one another, but by then had become sufficiently distinct to remain separate, partly through minor habitat preferences and morphological differences. Race mosambicus of P. diffusus considered by some to belong with present species. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • laeneni Niethammer, 1955 - Mali and Burkina Faso E to W Sudan, S to N Cameroon.
  • griseus ( Vieillot, 1817) - Senegal and S Mauritania E to Ivory Coast and to S Sudan, S to N Gabon and extreme N Central African Republic; also Bioko I (Fernandóo Po).
  • ugandae Reichenow, 1904 - N Ethiopia, N Eritrea and SE Sudan S to Angola, extreme N Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, C & NE Tanzania and N & NE Zimbabwe.