Adult and juvenile Scaly-breasted Munias feeding on Siglap Grass seeds

posted in: Feeding-plants | 3

I do not mow my lawn. I simply remove the taller grasses and other weeds, leaving behind Siglap Grass (Zoysia matrella) which is a creeping grass with short, pointy flowering/fruiting stalks. The fruiting stalks attract munias during the cool of the evening. They also appear just after the evening rain. These are skittish birds and they need to get used to you or else they fly off whenever you appear. They are now more or less used to my presence.

Scaly-breasted Munias – adult left, juvenile right.

I got a visit by six Scaly-breasted Munias (Lonchura punctulata) regularly now-a-days – four adults and two juveniles. Previously there were no juveniles. These are brownish birds. The adults, as the name implies, have scaly breast, not so the juveniles.

They turned their head sideways, manoeuvre the fruiting stalk between the mandibles to detach the seeds. Or they simply pick at the seeds. At the same time they managed to get rid of the husk before swallowing the seeds.

YC Wee
Singapore
18th April 2018

10+

3 Responses

  1. One of my favourite birds! They are cute and plump (especially the juveniles) and make sweet chirping sounds when in a group. After I had wild grasses grow in my flower pots and seed, these munias came along. One question: why are the juveniles bigger and fatter compared to the adults? Do they “shrink” after they reach maturity?

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  2. Lee Chiu San

    Are juvenile birds fatter than adults? The answer often is YES! Though I assume that the juveniles would have the same measurements as adults in terms of the length of various body parts, it has been recorded by both ornithologists and aviculturalists that juvenile birds are often heftier in girth, and weigh more. Such an observation has been made with regard to many species – from penguins to munias.
    There is a good reason for this. The period immediately after young birds separate from their parents is particularly stressful. The youngsters are not skilled in foraging or hunting, and would often go hungry. Their parents therefore stuff them well to ensure that they are fat and have the reserves to tide themselves over this difficult time.
    I might also add that the exertions of feeding their hungry brood can cause the parents to lose weight, become run-down and appear smaller than their offspring. They often need a period of rest and good food to recover.

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