Desert sparrow

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Desert sparrow
Desert Sparrow - Merzouga - Morocco 07 7156 (22203842844).jpg
Male in Morocco
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Passeridae
Genus: Passer
Species: P. simplex
Binomial name
Passer simplex
(Lichtenstein, 1823)
The ranges of the desert sparrow and Zarudny's sparrow

The desert sparrow (Passer simplex) is a species of bird in the sparrow family Passeridae, found in the Sahara Desert of northern Africa. A similar bird, Zarudny's sparrow, is found in Central Asia and was historically recognised as a subspecies of the desert sparrow, but varies in a number of ways and is now recognised as a separate species by BirdLife International,[2][1] the IOC World Bird List,[3] and the Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive.[4]

The desert sparrow has two subspecies which occur in some of driest parts of the Sahara Desert in northern Africa. This species is becoming scarcer as a result of habitat destruction, but it is assessed on the IUCN Red List as being of least concern for conservation.[1] Zarudny's sparrow is also considered to be a least concern species,[2] as was the combined species recognised before 2012.[5]

The desert sparrow is not afraid to come near humans and sometimes builds nests in muddy walls. The Mozabite Berbers build their homes with holes in the walls to welcome these birds, which they call "bar-rode", and if one sings all day in the house, they say this is a sign of good news. The Tuareg, who call the bird "moula-moula", also say that this bird brings good news when it comes to stay near the camp.[6]


  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2012). "Passer simplex". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b BirdLife International (2016). "Passer zarudnyi". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T22736027A95123540. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22736027A95123540.en. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  3. ^ Gill, F.; Donsker, D. (eds.). "Updates: Species 3.1-3.5". IOC World Bird List. International Ornithological Congress. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  4. ^ del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. (2017). "Zarudny's Sparrow (Passer zarudnyi)". In del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  5. ^ BirdLife International (2009). "Passer simplex". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  6. ^ "The Desert Sparrow". The Emberiza Fund. Retrieved 8 August 2013.

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