The above image shows a pair of Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) feeding on algae in a drain near Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS’s home in Canning Garden Home, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia on 23rd October 2011.
“A recognised behaviour related to breeding,” added Amar. “Have posted this before, see: LINK. Wells (2007) noted that they feed on nutrient rich filamentous algae Spirogyra (Wells 2007). Apparently munias eat Spirogyra as a source of protein to enable them to become physiologically ready for breeding… (Avery, 1980).”
The green alga Spirogyra breeds in freshwater drains, ponds, marshes, etc. In urban drains, there are also many species of other green (Chlorophyta) as well as blue-green algae (Cyanophyta) that these munias will feed on.
1. Avery, M. L., 1980. Diet and breeding seasonality among a population of Sharp-tailed Munias, Lonchura striata, in Malaysia. Auk 97: 160-166.
2. Wells, D.R., 2007. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London. 800 pp.