Also known as: Nutmeg Mannikin, Spice Finch, Spotted Munia
- Lonchura punctulata
Nominate subspecies female and male mixed group
Photo by Alok Tewari
Dist. Gurgaon, Haryana, India
12 cm (4Â¾ in)
Adult: both sexes identical with cinnamon-brown back and head, at least sometimes with darker face and throat. The breast and the rest of the underside is mostly white with each feather showing narrow borders and stripes in brown producing a scaly pattern. There seems to be variation (individual? geographic?) as to whether the scaly effect comes on gradually or at an abrubt line at the base of the throat (See the images in the gallery using the link below).
Juvenile is slightly lighter than the adult on the back, while the underside is buffy, gradually lighter towards undertail coverts and lacking in the scaly effect.
Bill is black in both adult and juveniles.
The natural distribution is from Nepal through India and Sri Lanka and east from there through China and the far east to Philippines and Indonesia. In addition, this species is common in the pet trade, and has generally established populations that spreads from wherever escapes have happened. They are therefore present along the east coast of Australia, the Caribbean and the USA, just to mention a few of the locations where they have been introduced.
Twelve subspecies share the original range. Birds in the pet trade are unlikely to come from any single subspecies, so introduced populations likely represent a mixture; even so, birds in Australia and the Caribbean do not look identical.
There are 12 subspecies:
- L. p. punctulata: Nepal to Sikkim, India and Sri Lanka
- L. p. subundulata: North-eastern India (Assam) to Bhutan and western Myanmar
- L. p. yunnanensis: North-eastern Myanmar and south-western China
- L. p. topela: Southern China to northern Thailand, Indochina, Hainan and Taiwan
- L. p. cabanisi: Philippines (Luzon, Mindoro, Panay, Cebu, Calauit and Palawan)
- L. p. fretensis: Southern Thailand and Malay Peninsula to Sumatra and adjacent islands
- L. p. nisoria: Java, Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa
- L. p. sumbae: Sumba (Lesser Sundas)
- L. p. blasii: Flores, Timor, Tanimbar Islands and adjacent Lesser Sundas
- L. p. particeps: Sulawesi
- L. p. baweana: Bawean Island (Java Sea)
- L. p. holmesi: Southeast Borneo (Kalimantan)
Lowland open areas with seeding grass. Has been observed at heights around 3000 ft (900m) on the approach to the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh.
Normally occur in flocks.
Their main diet consists of grass seeds and rice grains.
Subspecies L. p. topela
Photo by paux
Long Valley, Hong Kong
, October 2012
Nesting can occur at any time of the year if conditions are favorable, and the nest is normally found at moderate height in a tree.
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved June 2017)
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