Little information is available on survival rates of southern hemisphere passerines, but two recent studies indicate that Australian passerines tend to live longer than their northern hemisphere relatives. The aim of this paper is to provide data on survival of some South African passerines and compare them with Australian data. The survival rates of eleven species (eight genera) of South African passerines were calculated using recapture data provided by the South African Bird Ringing Unit for birds whose retraps occurred more than 12 months after the original ringing. Survival did not depend on either the length of the study or body mass. Mean survival rate was similar to that of 32 species of Australian passerines, which is at least 1, 2 greater than that of British passerines.