Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)


French: Capucin damier German: Muskatbronzemännchen Spanish: Capuchino punteado
Other common names: Nutmeg Mannikin

Loxia punctulata


, 1758,

Asia = Calcutta, India


Nominate race distinctive, especially in pattern of underparts. Birds from Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles (Mahé) described as race insulicola (type from Reunion)#R; possibly not introduced, but further study desirable. Some races listed here are sometimes synonymized: thus, yunnanesis may be included in topela, and fretensis and baweana in nisoria. Proposed races fortior (described from Lombok) and holmesi (from Semitau, in SW Borneo) treated as synonyms of nisoria. Eleven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. p. punctulata (Linnaeus, 1758) – Checkered Munia – N Pakistan, India (except NE), Nepal terai and Sri Lanka; recorded in NE Afghanistan.
  • L. p. subundulata (Godwin-Austen, 1874) – Bhutan, Bangladesh, NE India (Assam) and W Myanmar.
  • L. p. yunnanensis Parkes, 1958 – S China (SE Xizang, S Sichuan, Yunnan) and N & NE Myanmar.
  • L. p. topela (Swinhoe, 1863) – S Myanmar, Thailand, SE China, Hainan, Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
  • L. p. cabanisi (Sharpe, 1890) – Philippines (Luzon, Mindoro, Calauit, Palawan, Panay, Negros, Cebu, Mindanao) and N Borneo (coastal W Sabah and Brunei).
  • L. p. fretensis (Kloss, 1931) – S Malay Peninsula, Singapore, Sumatra and Nias I, Riau and Lingga Archipelagos, Bangka and Belitung.
  • L. p. nisoria (Temminck, 1830) – Scaly-breasted Munia – S Borneo (W & S Kalimantan), Java, Bali, and W Lesser Sundas (Lombok, Sumbawa).
  • L. p. particeps (Riley, 1920) – Sulawesi.
  • L. p. baweana Hoogerwerf, 1963 – Bawean I, off NE Java.
  • L. p. sumbae Mayr, 1944 – Sumba, in W Lesser Sundas.
  • L. p. blasii (Stresemann, 1912) – C & E Lesser Sundas (Flores E to Timor and Tanimbar Is).
  • Introduced (mainly race topela) in Seychelles, Mascarene Is, Japan, Australia, Palau Is (extirpated), Caroline Is, Hawaiian Is, Tahiti, West Indies (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Hispaniola), Guadeloupe; nominate race in S USA (California, Florida).

    Descriptive notes

    10–12·5 cm; 12–16 g. Nominate race has head to foreneck deep reddish-brown, darker on foreface and especially on chin and throat, slightly paler and duller... read more


    Soft contact call a repeated "tit-ti, tit-ti"; loud contact call "kit-teee, kit-teee... read more


    Grassland with bushes, trees and scrub, scrubby mangroves, coastal landfill, rice fields,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeding grasses (including rice at milky stages, Cynodon, Panicum auritum, Digitaria marginata, Pennisetum... read more


    Breeds throughout year, in India mainly during May–Sept monsoon season and in almost all months in S Thailand (Bangkok) and... read more


    Resident. Some local movements influenced by ripening of grain crops; in Malay Peninsula, two... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to very common throughout most of range; somewhat uncommon on some islands of Lesser Sundas. First seen in W & S Borneo in 1974, and may... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2019). Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata). 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 5 December 2019).