Fun Desert Sparrow Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Desert Sparrow Facts For Kids

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This Old World bird species, desert sparrow (Passer simplex), of the Passeriformes order, is a popular bird of the Sahara desert of northern Africa. The desert sparrow has been split into two subspecies, namely, Passer simplex saharae and Passer simplex simplex. In fact, the Central Asian Zarudny's sparrow of the Passeriformes order was initially considered to be a subspecies of the desert sparrow due to similarities. Nevertheless, the IOC World Bird List, as well as, BirdLife International, has split them by rendering a separate identity to the bird. The species inhabits both urban and rural areas and can mostly be located near the ground engrossed in foraging or dwelling in trees.

Did you know that the desert sparrow symbolizes good luck? The Berber community, Mozabites, construct holes in the walls of their houses to welcome these birds. It's believed that when a bird enters the hole, called 'bar-rode', and engages in singing all day, it is a sign of some good news.

If you want to get acquainted with some captivating facts about other sparrow species, then don't miss out on the chipping sparrow facts and the vesper sparrow.

Fun Desert Sparrow Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?

2-5 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.04-0.05 lb (18-21 g)

How long are they?

4.5-5.5 in (11.5-14 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Pale gray

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Human Activities

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Deserts, Grasslands, And Urban Areas, Shrublands, Rural Gardens


North Africa, South-central Asia









Desert Sparrow Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a desert sparrow?

Classified under order Passeriformes, the desert sparrow (Passer simplex) is species of bird.

What class of animal does a desert sparrow belong to?

The desert sparrow belongs to the class Aves of the Passeridae family.

How many desert sparrows are there in the world?

No accurate data regarding the existing number of mature individuals of the species could be extracted. According to reports, these birds can be traced frequently within their geographical boundaries as their current population is abundant. However, the population distribution has been projecting a decreasing trend mainly due to the destruction of habitat.

Where does a desert sparrow live?

The species can be found in the Sahara desert of North Africa and South-Central Asia. The distribution of Passer simplex saharae includes northwestern Sahara desert, Libya, Mauritania, to southern Algeria. On the other hand, the distribution of Passer simplex simplex encompasses southern Sahara, Mali, Chad, Niger, Egypt, and Sudan.

What is a desert sparrow's habitat?

The habitat range of the desert sparrow chiefly includes tropical and subtropical shrubland and grassland. These birds prefer open areas like dry sandy areas with bushes and trees scattered here and there. They can also be found near oases and among shrubs.

Who do desert sparrows live with?

The species exhibits a sociable nature. The male and female birds form pairs. They're also known to move about in small flocks post-breeding season (March to August).

How long does a desert sparrow live?

The life expectancy of these birds from the Passeridae family has not yet been deciphered. However, it can be inferred that these birds can thrive for about three years just like the common sparrows.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season commonly commences from March extending till October. These birds breed both solitarily, as well as, in mini colonies. After successful breeding, both male and female birds engage in building nests. Four to five nests are built on the branches of a single tree, like acacia, or sometimes in the base of a crow's large nest. Nests are also built inside muddy walls. Materials like dry grass, twigs, feathers, and other soft plant materials are used to prepare a comfortable nesting space. The incubation period of 12 - 13 days is served by both partners. The male birds also take to feeding and nurturing their chicks after hatching. Two broods can be raised annually with two to five eggs (seldom six) constituting a clutch. The eggs are white with gray and brown.

What is their conservation status?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has categorized the desert sparrow (Passer simplex) under the Least Concern list owing to its current large-scale population.

Desert Sparrow Fun Facts

What do desert sparrows look like?

The male and female birds posit differences in plumage color. While a male is of a pale gray shade, the female comes in a sandy yellow-brown color. The head is black-white patterned, while the cheeks and ear-coverts are white in a male. The flight feathers are black with white-pale gray edges, while the bill is horn-colored that turns black during the breeding period. Both the male and female birds have a brown iris, pinkish legs, and white underparts.

Desert sparrow facts tell about the Old World sparrow species.

How cute are they?

With their plump appearance, birds are one of the cutest aerial creatures. For instance, the golden-crowned sparrow posits a regal appearance with the yellow patch on its crown.

How do they communicate?

Apart from gestures and body language, the desert sparrow is popular for its high-pitched song and shrill, harsh calls. The songs sound more like 'tyi tyi tyi tyi tweeuw', which is very similar to the song of white wagtail. When in flight, twittering sounds can be heard that resembles the call of a European greenfinch. The bird doesn't produce insect-like sounds like the grasshopper sparrow.

How big is a desert sparrow?

The average length of a desert sparrow is around 4.5-5.5 in (11.5-14 cm). The species is not as large as the lark sparrow measuring approximately 6-6.7 in (15-17 cm) in length.

How fast can a desert sparrow fly?

Usually, a sparrow can fly at a speed of 24 mph (39 kph), but it can accelerate and attain a higher speed in times of danger, flying up to a speed of 31 mph (50 kph). The speed range of the desert sparrow is unknown.

How much does a desert sparrow weigh?

These small sparrows are extremely lightweight. The approximate weight of these birds is from 0.04-0.05 lb (18-21 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female birds of the species are referred to as a cock and hen, respectively.

What would you call a baby desert sparrow?

The name chick is generally used for a baby desert sparrow. Other names are hatchling and nestling.

What do they eat?

The desert sparrow (Passer simplex) indulges in an omnivorous diet primarily comprising seeds. These birds also feed on invertebrates. Especially, the small ones are fed with insects.

Are they friendly?

The species is famous for its outgoing nature. These birds mingle with humans fearlessly.

Would they make a good pet?

Sparrows are highly adaptable birds and can prove to be decent pets if they're reared with proper care. Although they fall under the Least Concern list, estranging wild birds from the wilderness and maintaining them as pets is considered illegal in several countries around the world. Also, it's uncertain how a desert sparrow would behave in captivity.

Did you know...

For the Tuareg, the pale-gray-colored desert sparrow (Passer simplex) is esteemed as a highly auspicious bird. The species is popularly called 'moula-moula' that often pays a visit to the settlement camps.

The desert sparrow's call

The desert sparrow's call is high-pitched. Calls like 'tchip', or the guttural threat call 'chit-it-it' has been identified. If you want to listen to a desert sparrow song, you can take a tour of the sandy Sahara desert in Africa.

How can a sparrow survive in the desert?

Generally, these small-sized sparrows are extremely sturdy survivors although some birds, like the American tree sparrow, cannot withstand the cold winter and migrate to warmer climates. Tolerance towards heat tells of their adaptations to arid desert conditions. Most of the moisture required for sustenance is obtained from food like seeds and fruits. Found in the Sonoran desert, the pale-gray shaded black-throated sparrow is a resilient desert bird. The bird exhibits a prominent black and white pattern on its head. In current times, the white-crowned sparrow is another sparrow species commonly found in Arizona.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these savannah sparrow facts and sagebrush sparrow facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable sparrow coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

Moumita is a multilingual content writer and editor. She has a PostGraduate Diploma in sports management, which enhanced her sports journalism skills, as well as a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's good at writing about sports and sporting heroes. Moumita has worked with many soccer teams and produced match reports, and sports is her primary passion.

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