Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Chestnut munia

Binomial name: Lonchura atricapilla, Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot, 1807

The chestnut munia (Lonchura atricapilla) (formerly considered as a subspecies of the tricoloured munia Lonchura malacca atricapilla), also known as black-headed munia, is a small passerine bird. This estrildid finch is a resident breeding bird in Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Hawaii.

Before 1995, it was the national bird of the Philippines,

where it is known as mayang pula ("red maya") because of its brick red patch on the lower back which is visible only when it flies. (This distinguishes it from other birds locally called maya, notably the predominantly brownish "mayang simbahan" (tree sparrow) which is more common in urban areas.)

Subspecies

The chestnut munia has several subspecies that are recognized as followed:

  • Lonchura atricapilla atricapilla
  • Lonchura atricapilla rubroniger
  • Lonchura atricapilla sinensis
  • Lonchura atricapilla formosana
  • Lonchura atricapilla deignani
  • Lonchura atricapilla brunneiceps
  • Lonchura atricapilla jagori
  • Lonchura atricapilla selimbauensis
  • Lonchura atricapilla obscura
  • Lonchura atricapilla batakana

Habitat

The chestnut munia is a small gregarious bird which feeds mainly on grain and other seeds. It frequents open grassland and cultivation. The nest is a large domed grass structure in a bush or tall grass into which 4-7 white eggs are laid.

Characteristics

The chestnut munia is 11–12 cm in length. The adult has a stubby pale grey-blue bill, black head, and brown body, with a brick red patch on the lower back, visible only when it flies. Some races also have a black belly.

The sexes are similar, but immature birds have uniform pale brown upperparts, lack the dark head and have white to pale buff underparts.

National bird of the Philippines until 1995

The black-headed munia was the national bird of the Philippines until 1995, when that honorific was transferred to the Philippine eagle. There, due to urbanization and the resulting lack of awareness of local species, it is nowadays often confused for the Eurasian tree sparrow because that species, one of several also categorized as "maya" in the Philippines, is much more common in the urban areas.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Passeriformes
Family
Estrildidae
Genus
Lonchura
Species
Lonchura atricapilla

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Chestnut munia, Lonchura atricapilla in Thailand
  • Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Lueam District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Bang Ban District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Pa In District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Bangkok Province
  • Borabue District, Maha Sarakham
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Huai Chorakhe Mak Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Huai Talat Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kamphaeng Saen District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham
  • Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani
  • Kumphawapi District, Udon Thani
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Buriram District, Buriram
  • Mueang Chonburi District, Chonburi
  • Mueang Chumphon District, Chumphon
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Maha Sarakham District, Maha Sarakham
  • Mueang Nonthaburi District, Nonthaburi
  • Mueang Pattani District, Pattani
  • Mueang Phayao District, Phayao
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Phuket District, Phuket
  • Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon
  • Mueang Songkhla District, Songkhla
  • Mueang Surat Thani District, Surat Thani
  • Non Thai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Han Lake
  • Nong Song Hong District, Khon Kaen
  • Pak Phli District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Pak Thale
  • Pak Tho District, Ratchaburi
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Phra Phrom District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • Sanam Bin Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Thale Noi Non-hunting Area
  • Thanyaburi District, Pathum Thani
  • Yang Talat District, Kalasin

Range map of Lonchura atricapilla in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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