Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Pale-headed Munia (Lonchura pallida)


French: Capucin pâle German: Blasskopfnonne Spanish: Capuchino pálido

Munia pallida


, 1864,

Lombok and Flores


Birds from Gulf of Palu, in NC Sulawesi, described as a geographical race, subcastanea, purportedly darker rufous in colour, but plumage no different from that of specimens from elsewhere in Sulawesi. Monotypic.


C & S Sulawesi, Kalaotoa, Madu, and Lesser Sundas (Lombok E to Wetar, Romang, Kisar, Sermata and Babar, S to Sumba, Sawu, Ndao, Roti and Timor).

Descriptive notes

11 cm; 12 g. Head is pale creamy white, nape greyish, mantle to back, upperwing and tail dark brown, rump and uppertail-coverts rufous-brown; throat and breast grey, belly... read more


Loud contact call of male "pseet!", of female "psit!". Song a chatter with high... read more


Open grassland, rice paddies and grassy scrub; sea-level to 1000 m.

Food and feeding

Grass seeds, rice. Takes both growing seeds on stems and fallen seeds on the ground. Forages in small to large flocks, up to 200... read more


Breeds throughout year in Palu Valley, in Sulawesi. In display, male holds a straw, bows low, turns towards female, bobs up and down, he... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common to abundant in much of range; uncommon and local on Sumba. Locally very common along N coast of Flores, where otherwise rather... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2020). Pale-headed Munia (Lonchura pallida). 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 17 February 2020).