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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 17:24 EDT

Iago Sparrow

The Iago Sparrow (Passer iagoensis), also known as the Cape Verde Sparrow, is a member of the Old World sparrow family. It is native to the Cape Verde Islands where it is very common on most islands except for Fogo and is scarce on Santa Luzia, Branco and Sal. It can be found in a wide variety of habitats but is most commonly found in lava plains, desert and dry scrub.

The Iago Sparrow is a little over 5 inches long with a 6.75 to 7.75 inch wingspan. The male has a black crown, throat and eye stripe. The sides of the head are reddish-brown and the nape is gray. The cheeks and underparts are whitish while the upperparts are reddish-brown with black streaks. The female is gray-brown above with dark streaks and whitish below. It is very similar to the female House Sparrow but has a more obvious pale stripe over the eye.

It breeds in loose colonies, beginning in August and September with the onset of the humid season. The nest is made of grass, lined with hair and feathers and usually built in a hole in a cliff or wall. The female lays three to five eggs. The young birds are fed on insects. Adult Iago Sparrows feed mainly on seeds and leaves.

Iago Sparrow