Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

White-headed Munia (Lonchura maja)


French: Capucin à tête blanche German: Weißkopfnonne Spanish: Capuchino cabeciblanco

Loxia Maja


, 1766,

East Indies = Malacca, Peninsular Malaysia


Has apparently hybridized with L. atricapilla in Malay Peninsula. Birds from Da Lat and Tay Ninh, in S Vietnam, described as race vietnamensis; said to be darker, with tawny head, and white restricted to region around eye, but no supporting evidence available. Monotypic.


S Thailand, S Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra (including satellite islands), Java and Bali. Introduced in Japan (Honshu) and Ryukyu Is (Okinawa).

Descriptive notes

11 cm; 11–14 g. Male has head white to smoky pinkish, nape brownish-grey, upperparts, including upperwing, dark brown, uppertail-coverts glossy coppery brown, tail dark... read more


Call a soft "preet" or "prit", male call higher in pitch and longer than that... read more


Open grassland, rice fields, marshes and reedbeds, upland grassy areas, including fallow weeds,... read more

Food and feeding

Rice seeds (mainly at sub-ripe milky stage), and seeds of smaller grasses, sedges (Cyperaceae) and dicot herbs (Amaranthus and the... read more


Season Feb–Oct in Malay Peninsula, Feb–Jul in Singapore and Feb in Java; wild-caught males maintained large testes for as long... read more


Resident. Flocks move about after young have fledged.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally fairly common in SE Asia; fairly common and widespread in Sumatra (and islands), Java and Bali. Birds of this species in Borneo... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2019). White-headed Munia (Lonchura maja). 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 16 June 2019).