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Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Parvordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Passeroidea
Familia: Estrildidae
Genus: Lonchura
Species: L. atricapilla - L. bicolor - L. caniceps - L. cantans - L. castaneothorax - L. cucullata - L. domestica - L. ferruginosa - L. flaviprymna - L. forbesi - L. fringilloides - L. fuscans - L. fuscata - L. grandis - L. griseicapilla - L. hunsteini - L. kelaarti - L. leucogastra - L. leucogastroides - L. leucosticta - L. maja - L. malabarica - L. malacca - L. melaena - L. molucca - L. montana - L. monticola - L. nana - L. nevermanni - L. nigerrima - L. nigriceps - L. oryzivora - L. pallida - L. pallidiventer - L. punctulata - L. quinticolor - L. spectabilis - L. striata - L. stygia - L. teerinki - L. tristissima - L. vana


Lonchura Sykes, 1832

Vernacular names
English: Munia, Silverbills

Lonchura is a genus of the estrildid finch family, and includes munias (or minias), mannikins, and silverbills. They are resident breeding birds in Africa and in South Asia from India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia and the Philippines. The name mannikin is from Middle Dutch mannekijn 'little man' (also the source of the different bird name manakin).[1]

Some of the Lonchura species were formerly placed in Spermestes. Others have been placed in a genus of their own, Euodice.


They are small gregarious birds which feed mainly on seeds, usually in relatively open habitats, preferring to feed on the ground or on reeds and grasses. Several species have been noted to feed on algae such as Spirogyra.[2][3]

The nest is a large domed grass structure into which 4–10 white eggs are laid. Some species also build communal roosting nests for overnight rest.

The species in this genus are similar in size and structure, with stubby bills, stocky bodies and long tails. Most are 10–12 cm in length. Plumage is usually a combination of browns, black and white, with the sexes similar, but duller and less contrasted for immature birds.

The similarities within this group and the existence of subspecies with differing vocalisations and plumage mean that some races may be elevated to species status. African and Indian Silverbill are now usually considered distinct species, and the two races of Black-throated Munia are often also split.

The munias are popular in the bird trade and many freed or escaped birds have formed feral colonies in different pockets across the world.

The Red Munia Estrilda amandava and Green Munia Estrilda formosa also take the name munia, but are in the Estrilda genus.

* Madagascar Munia, Lonchura nana
* African Silverbill, Lonchura cantans
* Indian Silverbill, Lonchura malabarica also known as White-throated Munia
* Grey-headed Silverbill, Lonchura griseicapilla
* Bronze Mannikin, Lonchura cucullata also known as Bronze Munia
* Black-and-white Mannikin, Lonchura bicolor also known as Black-and-white Munia
* Brown-backed Mannikin, Lonchura nigriceps also known as Brown-backed Munia
* Magpie Mannikin, Lonchura fringilloides also known as Magpie Munia
* White-rumped Munia, Lonchura striata
* Javan Munia, Lonchura leucogastroides
* Dusky Munia, Lonchura fuscans
* Black-faced Munia, Lonchura molucca
* Black-throated Munia, Lonchura kelaarti also known as Jerdon's Mannikin
* Scaly-breasted Munia, Lonchura punctulata also known as Nutmeg Mannikin or Spice Finch
* White-bellied Munia, Lonchura leucogastra
* Streak-headed Munia, Lonchura tristissima
o L. t. tristissima
o L. t. leucosticta
* Black-headed Munia, Lonchura atricapilla also known as Chestnut Munia
* Tricoloured Munia, Lonchura malacca
* White-capped Munia, Lonchura ferruginosa
* Cream-bellied Munia, Lonchura pallidiventer
* Five-colored Munia, Lonchura quinticolor
* White-headed Munia, Lonchura maja
* Pale-headed Munia, Lonchura pallida
* Grand Munia, Lonchura grandis
* Grey-banded Munia, Lonchura vana
* Grey-crowned Munia, Lonchura nevermanni
* Hooded Munia, Lonchura spectabilis
* Grey-headed Munia, Lonchura caniceps
* Mottled Munia, Lonchura hunsteini
* New Ireland Munia, Lonchura forbesi
* New Hanover Munia, Lonchura nigerrima
* Yellow-rumped Munia, Lonchura flaviprymna
* Chestnut-breasted Munia, Lonchura castaneothorax
* Black Munia, Lonchura stygia
* Black-breasted Munia, Lonchura teerinki
* Snow Mountain Munia, Lonchura montana
* Alpine Munia, Lonchura monticola
* Bismarck Munia, Lonchura melaena


1. ^ New Oxford American Dictionary (2nd ed., 2005), p. 1032.
2. ^ Pillai, N. G. 1968 The green algae, Spirogyra sp., in the diet of the White-backed Munia, Lonchura striata (Linn.). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 65: 490-491
3. ^ Avery, Michael L. (1980) Diet and breeding seasonality among a population of sharp-tailed munias, Lonchura striata in Malaysia. The Auk 97(1):160-166


* Birds of India by Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, ISBN 0-691-04910-6
* Birds of The Gambia by Barlow, Wacher and Disley, ISBN 1-873403-32-1
* Arnaiz-Villena A, Ruiz-del-Valle V, Gomez-Prieto P, Reguera R, Parga-Lozano C, Serano-Vela JI (2009) Estrildinae Finches (Aves, Passeriformes) from Africa, South Asia and Australia: a Molecular Phylogeographic Study. The Open Ornithology Journal 2. ISSN: 1874-4532.

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