Cape Grassbird ( Sphenoeacus afer, family: Sylviidae)

Birds & Birding in the Kruger National Park South Africa. In Roberts 6 this bird was called Grassbird

The Cape Grassbird (Latin name Sphenoeacus afer) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 661 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 781 also a picture of the Cape Grassbird on page 848. The Cape Grassbird belongs to the family of birds classified as Sylviidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Cape Grassbird is also known by these other names: African Grassbird.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the Cape Grassbird was called the Grassbird


The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

Endemic species is one that is confined to a specific country or region. For example certain birds endemic to South Africa only exist in that country. One such example is the Cape Grassbird and this species depends upon a particular habitat for survival. Destroy that habitat and the bird will possibly be lost forever.

In terms of distribution of the Cape Grassbird in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Cape Grassbird : see above distribution map.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

The Cape Grassbird is a smallish bird but somewhat larger than a house sparrow. The height of the Cape Grassbird is about 21 cms and its weight is about 30 gms

The male and female Cape Grassbird have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is red.
  • Eye is brown.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is chestnut.
  • Back is brown.
  • Legs are brown.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Cape Grassbird feeds on the ground mainly


Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Cape Grassbird is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Sphenoeacus afer will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Cape Grassbird is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub. The bird lays eggs which are grey in colour and number between 2 to 3

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Cape Grassbird are: grasslands

You will normally see the Cape Grassbird by itself rather than in the company of birds of the same species.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Itshitshi/Udwetya

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Grasvol

German ... Kap-Grassnger

Portuguese ... Felosa do Cabo

French ... Sphnoque du Cap

Dutch ... Kaapse Grasvogel

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 661

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,