Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Hooded Mannikin (Lonchura spectabilis)


French: Capucin à capuchon German: Prachtnonne Spanish: Capuchino vistoso
Other common names: Hooded Munia

Donacicola spectabilis

P. L. Sclater

, 1879,

New Britain


Birds from Karimui, in Eastern Highlands, with underparts greyish-orange to dark buff (rather than white), described as race gajduseki, but birds with similar coloration found in other parts of New Guinea, and presence or absence of dark markings on side of breast and flanks shows similar local variability; birds with dark buff breast, from Urimo, on Sepik Plains, proposed as race sepikensis, but no specimen preserved and photograph indicates underparts of same colour as in gajduseki, while white-bellied birds also seen in same zone. Form sepikensis provisionally included in mayri and gajduseki within wahgiensis. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. s. mayri (E. J. O. Hartert, 1930) – N New Guinea from Cyclops Mts, L Sentani and Humboldt Bay E to W East Sepik Province.
  • L. s. wahgiensis Mayr & Gilliard, 1952 – NE New Guinea from Madang Province and Huon Peninsula E to Wau, S to Western Highlands (Mt Wilhelm and Wahgi Valley), Chimbu Valley (at Kup and Keglsugl), Karimui Valley and Tua Valley (from Karimui to Bomai).
  • L. s. spectabilis (P. L. Sclater, 1879) – Long I, Tolokiwa I, Umboi, New Britain and Watom I, in Bismarck Archipelago.
  • Descriptive notes

    10 cm; 10·3-12·7 g. Nominate has head to throat black, mantle, back and upperwing dark rufous-brown, lower rump and uppertail-coverts reddish-ochre, tail brown with yellowish... read more


    Soft contact call "peep" or "see", sexes similar; male loud call a clear single... read more


    Grassland, canegrass, gardens with tall grass, land with cereal grains and grazing cattle and water... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds, including those of introduced itchgrass (Rottboellia exaltata) the size of rice grains; also algal scum on surface water.... read more


    Breeds all year, mainly between dry and rainy seasons Mar–May and Sept–Nov, in NE New Britain; in New Guinea, Sept–Oct... read more


    Resident; locally nomadic.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common in New Guinea; local in New Britain, where most records from N coast. Popular cagebird, trapped in varying numbers for trade.

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2020). Hooded Mannikin (Lonchura spectabilis). 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 25 February 2020).