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Black-and-white Mannikin

From Opus

Alternative name: Black-and-white Munia

S. b. nigriceps Photo by Alan Manson Photo taken: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
S. b. nigriceps
Photo by Alan Manson
Photo taken: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Spermestes bicolor

Lonchura bicolor
Includes Red-backed Mannikin (aka Brown-Backed Munia, Chestnut-backed Mannikin)


[edit] Identification

Length 9-10cm, mass 9g.

Adult: Head, nape, throat, upper breast and tail black. Mantle, back and lesser wing coverts are chestnut or black. The rump, flanks and flight-feather panel on folded wings are barred black and white and the lower breast, belly and undertail coverts are white. Bill blue-grey, eyes brown and legs and feet dark grey.

Immature (S. b. nigriceps): Birds moult gradually to adult plumage; the head and throat are mottled brown and black and are the last parts to gain adult colouring.

[edit] Distribution

Most of Africa south of the Sahara, except the easternmost parts. It is also found as an escapee all the way in Singapore. A bird was observed building a nest on a tree on May 17 in Singapore but breeding has yet to be confirmed.

Immature S. b. nigriceps Photo by rudydbn
Immature S. b. nigriceps
Photo by rudydbn

[edit] Taxonomy

Black-and-white Mannikin has five subspecies:1

  • S. b. bicolor
  • S. b. woltersi
  • Mantle, back and lesser wing coverts are black
  • South-eastern Zaire and north-western Zambia
  • S. b. poensis
  • S. b. nigriceps
  • S. b. minor
  • Mantle, back and lesser wing coverts are chestnut
  • Southern Somalia
  • Sometimes lumped with S. b. nigriceps

Some authorities separate nigriceps and minor as a separate species, Red-backed Mannikin S. nigriceps.2

Black-and-white Mannikin is sometimes placed in the genus Lonchura.

[edit] Habitat

Moist savanna and woodland, lowland moist forest, forest edges, parks, gardens.

[edit] Behaviour

Locally common; generally in small flocks. Forages both on the ground and from seed heads of standing grass.

[edit] Diet

Eats seeds of many species of grass; also small insects. Visits seed feeders, especially when natural sources of grass seed are limited (winter and spring in southern Africa). Also eats petals, nectar and filamentous algae from pools.

[edit] Breeding

The nest is an oval ball, generally of grass, but old-man's-beard (lichen of the genus Usnea) and wild asparagus stems are also used. Two to seven eggs are laid (October to May in southern Africa).

[edit] Vocalisation

The song is a short series of contact notes run together. Contact calls are soft kip (given with bill closed) and a short piping or whistling seeet seeet, usually given in flight; alarm call is a short harsh note.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from
  2. Dickinson EC (ed.) 2003. The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 3rd ed. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, NJ, USA. ISBN 9780691117010
  3. Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ & Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Robert's Birds of Southern Africa, 7th edition. John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa. ISBN 0620340533
  4. Sinclair I & Ryan PG 2003. Birds of Africa South of the Sahara. Struik Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa. ISBN 0691118154

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