Tricoloured munia

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Tricoloured munia
Tricoloured munia (cropped).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Estrildidae
Genus: Lonchura
L. malacca
Binomial name
Lonchura malacca
(Linnaeus, 1766)
Tricoloured Munia range 2.svg

Loxia malacca Linnaeus, 1766

The tricoloured munia (Lonchura malacca) is an estrildid finch, native to Bangladesh,[2] India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and southern China. The species has also introduced to the Caribbean, in Trinidad, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Venezuela. This species, like the chestnut munia has been known as the black-headed munia. 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 tricolored munia was formally described by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1766 in the twelfth edition of his Systema Naturae under the binomial name Loxia malacca.[3] Linnaeus mistakenly specified the locality as China, Java and Malacca. This was corrected by E. C. Stuart Baker in 1926 as Belgaum in the state of Karnataka in southwest India. The specific epithet malacca is a geographical misnomer; the species does not occur on the Malay Peninsula.[4][5] The tricolored munia is now placed in the genus Lonchura that was introduced by the English naturalist William Henry Sykes in 1832.[6] This species was formerly treated as conspecific with the chestnut munia (Lonchura atricapilla). It is monotypic: no subspecies are recognised.[7]


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.



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2018). "Lonchura malacca". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T22719837A131885437. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22719837A131885437.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Red List of Bangladesh : Volume 3: Birds" (PDF). Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  3. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1766). Systema naturae : per regna tria natura, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Vol. 1, Part 1 (12th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 302.
  4. ^ Baker, E.C. Stuart (1926). The Fauna of British India Birds including Ceylon and Burma. Birds. Vol. 3 (2nd ed.). London: Taylor and Francis. p. 78.
  5. ^ Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, ed. (1968). Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 14. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 379.
  6. ^ Sykes, William Henry (1832). "Catalogue of birds of the raptorial and insessorial orders (systematically arranged,) observed in the Dukhun". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 2 (18): 77-99 [94].
  7. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2021). "Waxbills, parrotfinches, munias, whydahs, Olive Warbler, accentors, pipits". IOC World Bird List Version 11.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 15 July 2021.

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