Scaly-breasted Munia

Lonchura punctulata




Estrildid Finches (Estrildidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:

3 - 7

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

In a small shrub on a bushy tree.

Nest Material:

Blade and course grasses mixed with leaves and lined with fine grasses.





Scaly-breasted Munia: Small finch with chestnut-brown upperparts and dark-scaled white underparts. Head is richer brown and bill is heavy and dark; eye ring is dark gray; black bill; lower mandible is often a paler blue-gray at base; legs gray. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is duller with plain olive-brown upperparts, buff to white underparts; bill is black. Races vary mostly in the color of the uppertail coverts and pattern and color of underparts. They have been introduced to parts of California and Florida from Asia. Name changed from Nutmeg Mannikin to Scaly-breasted Munia in 2014 by the American Ornithologist Union.

Range and Habitat

Scaly-breasted Munia: Resident from India to Taiwan, south to Sri Lanka, and through Southeast Asia to East Indies and Philippines. Introduced and established in Hawaii (widespread on all main islands); also introduced to Australia. Colonies of escaped caged birds are found in California, and Texas east to Florida. Preferred habitats include reed beds, rank grass, scrub areas, grasslands, orchards, and cultivated lands, often near human habitation.

Breeding and Nesting

Scaly-breasted Munia: Three to seven white eggs are laid in a globular, compact nest with a side entrance made of grass and leaves, lined with fine grass, and built in a small shrub or a bushy tree. Both the male and the female build the nest and share in the incubation, which lasts about 14 days. They also both take care of the young.

Foraging and Feeding

Scaly-breasted Munia: Although their usual diet is half ripe seeds and greens, they have become scavengers around farms and garbage dumps, eating scraps left by humans as well as insects. They eat very few insects, however. They have also been known to pick the flesh off of road kill. They forage on the ground, or hang from stems to eat seeds.

Readily Eats

Millet, Commercial Mixed Bird Seed


Scaly-breasted Munia: Call is a plaintive "chee, ba-hee." Song is "ki-ki-te-te."

Similar Species

Scaly-breasted Munia: Unlikely to be confused with any other species in its range.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Eye ringX
The circle around the eye formed of feathers that are a different color from the rest of the face.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X