Newsletter – 10/6/2009
Although last week’s bird, the Gouldian Finch, was a welcome encounter in Wyndham my main target in the Kununurra district of NE Western Australia was another finch, the Yellow-rumped Munia or Mannikin (members of the genus Lonchura are usually called Mannikins in Australia and Munias overseas).
This species has a very restricted distribution, occurring only in the eastern Kimberley and in northwestern Northern Territory. It is supposed to be quite abundant in the Ord River irrigation area near Kununurra. We searched quite diligently in many of its favourite locations without finding any and it wasn’t until, on the return journey, I saw this single bird in the company of Chestnut-breasted Munias/Mannikins at a water hole in the Keep River district on the Northern Territory side of the border.
Compared with the almost meretricious plumage of the Gouldians and the exuberance of the bathing Chestnut-breasteds, ‘restrained elegance’ comes to mind in both the appearance and behaviour of the Yellow-rumped: tasteful but subtle colours and decidedly demure beside its frolicking companions. Even when drinking, as in the second photo, it sipped delicately from a high perch as if not wanting to spoil its costume. The Yellow-rumped is closely related to the more widespread Chestnut-breasted and, in addition to consorting together, they sometimes interbreed.
I’m in Sydney briefly for last night’s presentation to Birding NSW. It was an enjoyable evening with a delightful group of people but I am returning home prematurely this afternoon. There were several bushfires burning near my house in unseasonably hot and dry weather and I don’t feel comfortable being away longer than necessary.
I’ve posted a dozen photos of the Gouldian Finches at Wyndham to the website to join several that I took at Mornington Station in the Kimberley five years ago: http://www.birdway.com.au/estrildidae/gouldian_finch/index.htm .
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Checked out Ian’s Gouldian Finch photos and they are really neat.
The Munia/Mannikins are in the Waxbill Family of Estrilidae. Their genus, Lonchura, consists of the following birds of which I have included links to photos and videos:
|Bronze Mannikin – Video||Lonchura cucullata|
|Black-and-white Mannikin – Video||Lonchura bicolor|
|Red-backed Mannikin||Lonchura nigriceps|
|Magpie Mannikin||Lonchura fringilloides|
|White-rumped Munia Nik – Video||Lonchura striata|
|Javan Munia – Video||Lonchura leucogastroides|
|Dusky Munia – Video||Lonchura fuscans|
|Black-faced Munia –Video||Lonchura molucca|
|Scaly-breasted Munia Ian’s – Video||Lonchura punctulata|
|Black-throated Munia – Video||Lonchura kelaarti|
|White-bellied Munia||Lonchura leucogastra|
|Streak-headed Munia – Video||Lonchura tristissima|
|White-spotted Munia||Lonchura leucosticta|
|Five-colored Munia – Video||Lonchura quinticolor|
|Tricolored Munia||Lonchura malacca|
|Chestnut Munia – Video||Lonchura atricapilla|
|White-headed Munia – Video||Lonchura maja|
|Pale-headed Munia – Video||Lonchura pallida|
|Great-billed Munia||Lonchura grandis|
|Grey-banded Munia||Lonchura vana|
|Grey-headed Munia||Lonchura caniceps|
|Grey-crowned Munia||Lonchura nevermanni|
|Hooded Munia||Lonchura spectabilis|
|New Ireland Munia||Lonchura forbesi|
|Mottled Munia||Lonchura hunsteini|
|Yellow-rumped Munia Ian’s||Lonchura flaviprymna|
|Chestnut-breasted Munia Ian’s – Video||Lonchura castaneothorax|
|Black Munia||Lonchura stygia|
|Black-breasted Munia – Video||Lonchura teerinki|
|Eastern Alpine Munia||Lonchura monticola|
|Western Alpine Munia – Video||Lonchura montana|
|Sooty Munia||Lonchura melaena|
|Timor Sparrow||Lonchura fuscata|
|Java Sparrow Ian’s||Lonchura oryzivora|
|Pictorella Munia Ian’s||Heteromunia pectoralis|
Two verses come to mind about these birds. While I was looking for extra photos of the birds, I found many of these birds have been kept as pets and also the diet of most of these is grain and seeds.
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. (James 3:7)
And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. (Matthew 13:4)