Flocks of White-headed Munia

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“White-headed Munia (Lonchura maja) are decreasing in number in the Malaysian city of Ipoh in Perak. The same situation is probably seen in other areas in the region – trapping for pet shops and loss of habitat, at least in cities and urban areas, are major reasons. However there are still some large flocks to be seen, as in this field and some overgrown Chinese cemeteries around Ipoh (above).

“Estimates of images of the flock photographed before the fire on 26th December 2009 show more than 235 White headed Munias and one Black-headed Munia (L. malacca sinensis) at this site. Often seen a few Black-headed Munias mixed with the flocks.

“There were also a decent number of juveniles (above). The image on the left shows a juvenile, that on the right shows a juvenile moulting into an adult. The ratio of juveniles to adults in this flock was 1:6.

“One of their favourite foods is the Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) abundant in this field.

“Because of the fire I was able to get closer to them, near the road and using the car as a hide, to document plumage.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia
26th Dec 2009 and 27th February 2010

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