The earlier post on the Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) feasting on casuarina seeds mentioned another food, the green alga Spyogyra that grows in stagnant or slow-moving, relatively unpolluted water. An image of the alga under the microscope can be seen HERE.
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS was kind enough to send his composite image taken on 7th September 2009 at an abandoned swampy grassland in Ipoh, Malaysia. The image shows the munia in the act of poking its head into the water, picking up the algal strands and eating them.
According to Avery (1980), “Apparently Sharp-tailed Munias (Lonchura striata) eat Spirogyra as a source of protein to enable them to become physiologically ready for breeding….” This probably also applies to the Scaly-breasted Munia.
Avery, M. L. 1980. Diet and breeding seasonality among a population of sharp-tailed munias, Lonchura striata, in Malaysia. The Auk 97: 160-166.