Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Buff-bellied Mannikin (Lonchura melaena)


French: Capucin de Nouvelle-Bretagne German: Dickkopfnonne Spanish: Capuchino de Nueva Bretaña
Other common names: Thick-billed Mannikin, Bismarck Mannikin, Bismarck Munia

Munia melæna

P. L. Sclater

, 1880,

Kabbakadai, New Britain


Subspecies differ in size and in plumage; study of vocalizations needed. New Ireland birds of uncertain affiliation#R; possibly belong with bukaensis. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. m. melaena (P. L. Sclater, 1880) – New Britain Mannikin – New Britain, in Bismarck Archipelago.
  • L. m. bukaensis Restall, 1995 – Buka Mannikin – Buka I (N of Bougainville I); perhaps this race in New Ireland.
  • Descriptive notes

    11 cm. Nominate race has head to breast black, blackish-brown on mantle, back and wing, with rusty tinge, especially on outer fringes of remiges, rump and uppertail-coverts... read more


    Call short and high-pitched; no information on song.


    Grassland, swamps, airstrips, gardens, open broken forest; lowlands to 1200 m on New Britain.

    Food and feeding

    Seeds, seeding heads of sugar cane; along beaches takes chalky bits. Often in small flocks.


    Active nests in Dec and Jan on Buka. Nest covered, with side entrance, made from dried grass, lined with finer grass fibres and flowers;... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted range species: present in New Britain and New Ireland EBA and Solomon Group EBA. Fairly common to locally common in New Britain; not seen... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2020). Buff-bellied Mannikin (Lonchura melaena). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 February 2020).