The Bronze-Winged Mannikin

Bronze-Winged Mannikin8,11,13,21,23
Lonchura cucullata
Photo by Francis Yap
Munia/Mannikin
Hardiness:Hardy
Reproduction:Reliable
Singing ability:Poor
Compatibility:Passive, mixes well with other passive species
[Compatibility Chart]
Size:3.5" (9 cm), among the smallest munias
Approx. cost:$30-50 (US) per pair


Other common names

Bronze Mannikin, Bronze-shouldered Mannikin, Bronze-wing, Swainson's Bronze Mannikin, Hooded Finch, Hooded Weaver-Finch, Hooded Mannikin

Subspecies:
  • L. c. cucullata
  • L. c. scutata: Southern Bronze Mannikin


Origin

Africa

Area of distribution

In Africa, south of the Sahara except for the southwest. Also found on the islands of Fernando Po, Principe, Sao Tome', Pemba, Zanzibar, Mafia, Comoros; introduced to Puerto Rico.

Distribution


Disposition

Active, vivacious, but may become sluggish if housed in a smaller enclosure. Generally gregarious, but can become dominating while breeding.

Physical descriptions

Black upper bill, silver lower bill; brownish black head with metallic green or purplish sheen; brownish black throat and upper breast; brown back & wings; shoulders sport a metallic green patch; flanks are mottled brown & white; black tail with brown-and-black cross-barred rump; white belly; dark grey or blackish legs. L. c. cucullata may also have some variable glossy green patches along the flanks which the L. c. scutata subspecies tends to lack. Juveniles have a black beak and are dark grey-brown with light grey-brown throat and breast, buff belly, brownish-buff flanks.

Sexing

Sexes appear similar, though the hen may appear a little less glossy, browner above, and sport a narrower head with a beak that tapers more than the cock's. Only the male bird appears to show a courtship display where he erects his body (but not head or breast) fathers, presents himself in an upright posture to the female with his head pointed downward; he will then click his bill, open it widely, and sing, at intervals protruding and vibrating his tongue, bobbing up-and-down or pivoting side-to-side toward and away from, and sometimes in a circle around, the female, while keeping his tail pointed toward her. The female may respond by crouching and quivering her tail.

Song

Song consists of a series of contact calls.

Pictures

If you keep this species and have a photo of your birds to share, please submit your photo for possible inclusion on this site! Credit will be given to you.

Photo by Francis Yap
Photo by Francis Yap.


Photo by Francis Yap
Photo by Francis Yap.


Photo by Francis Yap
Photo by Francis Yap.


Photo by Francis Yap
Juvenile and adults. Photo by Francis Yap.


Favorite foods

Small mixed millet, greens, egg food, mealworms, ant pupae, soaked seed.

Natural habitat

Savannahs & scrub, open woodland, forest edge, along rivers, cultivated areas, open clearings, farms & gardens.

Habits

Bronze-winged Mannikins live in flocks and family parties outside of the breeding season. Allo-preening is common among birds on friendly terms. They eat grass seeds (from the genera Digitaria, Panicum, & Setaria), soft greens, & flying termites, and feed both on the ground & on plants. Birds may gather at a watering hole prior to roosting for the night. Individual families roost in brooding or "slovenly" roosting nests (which may be dismantled and rebuilt each afternoon). The cock tends to collect the nesting material while the hen tends to build the nest, often near active wasp nests (presumably for protection from predation). Nests are rounded and constructed of grass stems and blades, lined with fine grasses, vegetable down and fiber, hair and feathers, and built in small (3 to 10 feet tall) trees (mango & orange trees), although some pairs may make use of abandoned weavers' or waxbills' nests, bushes, shrubs, and niches in buildings. Families may build nests close together and share the same tree. Both cock and hen share incubation duties during the day, and both sit together in the nest at night. Young are reared on green (half-ripe) seeds, greens, and insects. After fledging, young are lead back to the nest each night to roost. An alerted or active bird may flick its tail from side-to-side and flick the wings up and down. Birds may try to 'escape' to a dark area and become motionless, attempting to hide.

Special considerations

Bronze-winged Mannikins prefer to live in groups of like species. Males may become aggressive toward each other and other species during the breeding season; fighting birds will fan out the wing that is further away from their enemy during spats. Has produced hybrids with the spice finch L. punctulata, Magpie Mannikin, Black-and-Whtie Mannikin, Madagascar Mannikin, African & Indian Silverbills, and possibly the Common Waxbill.

Breeding season

Breeding is restricted to the warm (rainy/wet) season, but may occur year-round near the equator.

Breeding tips

For best results, keep a group of these birds together to allow the birds to choose their own partners. Newcomers to the flock may be attacked, intensely courted, and mounted, but are usually accepted before long. Because they can become pugnacious while breeding, Bronze-winged Mannikins may be best kept in a group on their own while breeding. Birds are most successfully bred in a community fashion in larger aviaries, though some may breed in cages. They may make use of semi-open nest boxes, nest baskets, or they may build their own nests in bushes using coconut fiber, leaves, grass, and feathers for padding. Copulation tends to occur inside the privacy of the nest, and may be interrupted by other males if taking place outside of the nest. For rearing food, provide varied options of ample sprouted seed, egg food, and live food. Fledged young raise the wing furthest from the parent bird when begging for food. After the young fledge, they do not need to be separated from the parents/breeding pairs, and may form a peaceful extended family from successive clutches. Sometimes captive young from older clutches may try to feed their younger siblings. Parent birds may drive these older juveniles out of the nest, but will often permit them to feed their younger siblings after they have fledged.

Life Cycle

Clutch size:4-6 eggs
Hatch date:After 12-14 days of incubation
Fledge date:18-21 days of age
Wean date:3 weeks after fledging
First molt:Completed by 6 months of age


Related Article(s)

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Bronze-Winged Mannikin

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