occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: RESIDENT: from central and southern India and Sri Lanka. Introduced and established in Hawaiian Islands (Oahu), Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Venezuela, and Japan. Reportedly bred in the 1960s in Florida but not established; this record may also refer to L. ATRICAPILLA (AOU 2000).
Length: 12 cm
Habitat and Ecology
Comments: Second growth, scrub, grassland, cultiv. land, marshes, and around houses. In Puerto Rico prefers high grass next to sugar cane fields, "swampy" areas, or canals (Raffaele 1983). Hawaii: golf courses, grassy roadsides, weedy margins of cane fields. In native range, frequently nests in vegetation above water. In Puerto Rico, nests 1-3 m above ground in dense sugar cane (Raffaele 1983); also found nesting in clumps of Cyperus growing on top of coconut palm stumps in lagoon (as at Humacao, Burger and Gochfeld 1989).
Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Comments: See Raffaele (1989) for details on diet in Puerto Rico (where SORGHUM seeds are an important food).
Forms small to large flocks.
Life History and Behavior
Clutch size usually is 4-5 (Raffaele 1983).
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Lonchura malacca
There are 3 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank. Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species. See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lonchura malacca
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Comments: Kept as cage bird.
The Tricoloured Munia (Lonchura malacca) is an estrildid finch, native to India, Sri Lanka, Southern China, Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia. The species was also introduced to Guam, Jamaica, Palau, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Vanuatu and Venezuela. This species too like the Chestnut Munia has been known as the Black-headed Munia in the past. Immature birds have pale brown upperparts, lack the dark head found in adults, and have uniform buff underparts that can be confused with immatures of other munias such as the Scaly-breasted Munia.
The Chestnut Munia was formerly considered conspecific with this species.
The Tricoloured Munia is a small gregarious bird which feeds mainly on grain and other seeds. It inhabits wet grassland habitats. It may also be found in tropical lowland moist forest habitats.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Formerly merged with L. ATRICAPILLA and called the Chestnut Mannikin (AOU 1998), but these species split by AOU (2000), following Restall (1995). L. FERRUGINOSA often has been considered conspecific with L. MALACCA; treated as separate species by Sibley and Monroe (1990).