Ian’s Bird of the Week – Yellow-rumped Munia/Mannikin

Yellow-rumped Munia by Ian Montgomery

Yellow-rumped Munia by Ian Montgomery

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.

Yellow-rumped Munia by Ian Montgomery

Yellow-rumped Munia with Chestnut-breasted Munias by Ian Montgomery

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 .

Best wishes,

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:


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 MannikinVideo 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 MuniaVideo 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 MuniaVideo 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)

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