A little munia fell out of the sky

on 4th November 2010

“There was a very heavy downpour yesterday afternoon. Orpa, our Indonesian helper found a little bird on the ground in our backyard. She said it was really pathetic looking, all wet and shivering, eyes shut (left). She picked it up and wrapped it in a kitchen towel, dabbed its feathers dry. She kept it wrapped in tissue paper and left it where it could leave on its own whenever it was well enough.

“I came home soon after that, and Orpa told me what happened and showed me the bird. It was still sleepy looking like little owl in the day. I could tell it was a munia by its size and shape of the beak. But probably a juvenile, as there were no distinguishing features.

“I quickly brought out my camera and took a few shots (below) including a short video. It got more active and took off after a while, up to the lower branches of the starfruit tree. And then it flew away.

“Here are three photos of the little visitor. KC and Amy please help to identify it. My guess is… a juvenile Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla). The color of the beak is slightly blue. Juvenile Scaly-breasted Munia’s (Lonchura punctulata) beak should be darker grey. What other possibilities?”

Joyce Tan
24th October 2010

KC Tsang has this to say: “This should be the Scaly-breasted Munia, juvenile, as this is the most common in Singapore, as for Chestnut Munia, it apparently does not occur here unless it is another escapee… However the book and I may be wrong as I now remember taking a picture of the Chestnut Munia in Jurong .. Got to dig for the picture…”

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

One Response

  1. more likely Scaly-breasted, both White-headed and Black-headed seemed to have a pale greyish bill, but Scaly-breasted has a darker upper mandible, as seen here. It would be harder to tell apart between White-headed and Black-headed juveniles but white-headed should have paler brown.

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