Saturday, 29 October 2011

Dead Sea sparrow

Passer moabiticus

Photo by Daniele Occhiato (PBase)

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Passeridae

This species is patchily distributed, from Israel and Turkey, across the Middle East, and into Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Dead Sea sparrow is 12-13 cm long and has a wingspan of 19-20 cm. They weigh 18 g.

These birds are found in arid, open areas, mostly scrubland, thick scrub, tamarisk and very sparse woodlands. They are typically found near watercourses or pools.

They mostly eat the seeds of grasses, but also of tamarisk and papirus, and will also eat some insects.

Dead Sea sparrows breed in March-July. The nest is a bulky, open globular or cone-shaped structure built of stiff dry twigs, finely interwoven around the branches of a tree, lined with a thick pad of plant down, seed panicles, fibres, and feathers. There the female lays 4-5 ground-coloured eggs with brown spots. The eggs are incubated for 9-16 days and the chicks fledge 11-13 days after hatching. Each pair my produce 2-3 broods per year.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a patchy and relatively restricted breeding range. The global population is estimated at 11.000-180.000 individuals and is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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