The White-Headed Mannikin/Munia/Nun
|White-headed Mannikin/Munia/Nun8,11,13,21,23,31,34,35,37,40, 41|
|Lonchura maja, 2 subspecies|
Other common namesWhite-headed Munia, White-headed Nun, White-headed Mannikin, White-haired Munia, Cigar Bird, Maja Munia
- L. m. maja
- L. m. vietnamensis: Vietnamese White-headed Munia, Vietnamese Maja
Area of distribution
- 1. L. m. maja: Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Bali
- 2. L. m. vietnamensis: Vietnam
DispositionGregarious, peaceful, calm.
Physical descriptionsLight grey beak, white head, neck and breast tinged with buff, chestnut brown body and wings, black-brown tail, and the center of the belly is black. L. m. vietnamensis is slightly darker with a darker head (the head is tawny except for white around each eye), more distinct brown bib and throat, and the black of the belly touches the breast.
(Because of their very similar colorations, the White-headed Munia is sometimes confused with the Pale-headed Munia [L. pallida, see photo below], which has tan flanks that are significantly lighter in color than its brown wings. The Pale-headed Munia also lacks the black belly.)
Juvenile White-headed Munias are cinnamon above and buff colored below with dark grey feet and a grey bill. Juveniles are indistinguishable from juvenile Black-throated Munias (L. ferruginosa), juvenile Pale-headed Munias (L. pallida), juvenile Chestnut Munias (L. atricapilla), and juvenile Scaly-breasted Munias (L. punctulata).
SexingSexes appear similar, although the white of hen's head may appear more smokey or dull when compared to the cock. The white color on the cock's head becomes more bright and extensive as he ages, however, which is why young cocks are sometimes confused with hens when they are compared to older cocks. In addition to having a paler head, the distinction between the buff colored plumage of the hen's chest and the chestnut brown plumage of the flanks is more blended and not as clearly delineated as on the cock. Only the cock sings.
Only the dominant male(s) in a group may sing. Placing a bird in its own cage (one at a time) near a group of conspecifics may induce the bird to sing if he is a male. Likewise, introducing a bird (one at a time) to a known hen may induce the introduced bird to sing if he is a male.
SongBeak-clicking precedes the song which is a series of rapidly repeated notes followed by a drawn-out whine.
PicturesIf 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.
Adult pair of White-headed Munias.
White-headed Munia juveniles.
Photo by Lim Chaikok.
Photo by Andy Li.
Photo by Andy Li.
Photo by Aurélien LEQUOY.
This is the Pale-headed Munia (L. pallida) - a confusion species. Note the greyer nape, breast, and back and tan underparts. Photo by Aurélien LEQUOY.
Favorite foodsVarious millets, green food, sprouted seed.
Natural habitatOpen country with tall grassland, thick weeds, rice fields, marshes, swamps, reedbeds, green mountain slopes, gardens.
HabitsWhite-headed Munias live in small to large social groups outside of the breeding season, and live in pairs for breeding. They have been known to flock with Scaly-breasted Munias and Chestnut Munias, wandering in search of food. Flocks roost in cane fields and reed beds. They breed in loose colonies and feed on the ground and on growing plants. Pair bonds form while the birds are still in juvenile plumage. Clumping may occur in captivity and allopreening takes place between members of a pair.
Special considerationsNails tend to become overgrown, so frequent nail trimming may be needed. These birds tend to be long-lived (up to 18-20 years), and may become lethargic if housed in too small of an enclosure.
They may hybridize with: Bengalese Munia (Lonchura acuticauda), Southern Black-headed Munia (L. atricapilla), African Silverbill (L. cantans), Chestnut-breasted Munia (L. castaneothorax), Society Finch (L. domestica), Yellow-rumped Munia (L. flaviprymna), White-rumped Munia (L. striata), Spice Finch (L. punctulata), Indian Black-headed Munia (L. malacca), Owl Finch (Taeniopygia bichenovii), Cut-throat (Amadina fasciata), and the Black-throated Finch (Poephila cincta).
Breeding seasonUsually commences after the rainy season (February in Java), but can occur year-round if weather and food supplies allow.
Breeding tipsFor best results, keep a group of these birds together (colony breeding) in a large aviary planted with tall grasses in the corner for the birds to nest in. Allow the birds to chose their own partners. A male will court a hen with a courtship routine which includes puffing the feathers out, spreading the tail, and moving the head to-and-fro while singing. Nests constructed of coarse grasses, grass stalks, coconut fiber, and thin plant stems are built in tufts of grass or thick bushes, though they may also accept a half-open nest box. Both sexes will construct the nest and both will incubate the eggs during the day; the hen incubates at night. For rearing food, provide ample soaked and sprouted seed, egg food, green food, and possibly live food. Live food may be appreciated, but is not required. Young are brooded for 12 days after they hatch. Juveniles tend to take longer to molt into adult plumage compared with other finch species.
|Clutch size:||4-7 eggs|
|Hatch date:||After 12-13 days of incubation|
|Fledge date:||At 21 days of age|
|Wean date:||About 6-7 weeks of age|
Related Article(s)If you own this species and would like to write an article about your experiences with them for this page, please submit your article for possible inclusion on this site. Credit will be given to you!
- The White-headed Munia - eFinch species profile.