Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Streak-headed Mannikin (Lonchura tristissima)


French: Capucin à tête rayée German: Trauerbronzemännchen Spanish: Capuchino cabeciestriado
Other common names: Streak-headed Munia

Munia tristissima


, 1865,

north-west New Guinea


Usually considered conspecific with L. leucosticta, and these two have sometimes been separated in Mayrimunia, on basis of vocal characters. SE birds sometimes separated as race bigilalei (lacks black bar on upper rump, longest uppertail-coverts brown, not black, underparts lighter brown, flanks spotted white and buff), but apparently of hybrid origin; herein included in calaminoros, pending clarification; name bigilalei originally spelt bigilalae but emended to masculine termination, as explicitly named “after [Mr] Il[a]iah Bigilale”. Umboi birds included here in calaminoros, but may represent an undescribed taxon. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. t. tristissima (Wallace, 1865) – NW New Guinea (Vogelkop Peninsula E to S shores of Geelvink Bay).
  • L. t. hypomelaena Stresemann & Paludan, 1934 – W New Guinea from Weyland Mts area E to Mamberamo R and, in S, to Noord (Lorentz) R.
  • L. t. calaminoros (Reichenow, 1916) – N & E New Guinea from region of Mamberamo R E to Huon Gulf and Cape Nelson and S to SC Gulf Province and Port Moresby, including Karkar I, Long I and (perhaps this race) Umboi#R.
  • Also, in NC Western Province of C New Guinea (race unknown).

    Descriptive notes

    10 cm; 7·5–10 g. Much individual variation. Male nominate race is mainly dark brown above, crown and nape with pale shaft-streaks, upper rump with blackish bar,... read more


    Call a buzzy thin "tseed", upslurred and querulous, also "jjbb!". Song a high-... read more


    Inhabits the narrow grassy fringes of streams or trails through forest, grassy clearings mixed with... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds of grasses, including Echinochloa, seeds of bamboo; also insects (on Karkar I). Forages low in vegetation and on ground.... read more


    Recorded in Nov–Dec (during wet season) and juveniles seen in May. Nests sometimes in small colonies. Male perches upright, neck... read more


    Resident; locally nomadic.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon. This species has a large range, within which it is not very well known. There is no evidence that it has suffered any... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Streak-headed Mannikin (Lonchura tristissima). 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).