Spice Finches, Nutmeg Finches, Black-headed Munias or Chestnut Munias
Finch Information ... Finch Species ... Finch Photo Gallery ... Finch Diseases ... Finch / Canary Diet / Nutrition ... Books, DVDs and Other Media about Finches ... Finch Data: Range, Length, Clutch-size and Incubation Periods for each Finch Species
The Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) is also known as Spotted Munia, Nutmeg Mannikin or Spice Finch. They are popular aviary birds.
Distribution / Range
Catalan: Maniquí puntejat ... Chinese: 斑文鳥, 斑文鸟 ... Czech: Amadina muškátová, panenka muškátová ... Danish: Muskatfinke ... Dutch: Muskaatvink ... Estonian: võrkamadiin ... Finnish: Suomumanikki .. French: Capucin damier, Capucin ponctué, Damier commun, Domino ponctué, Muscade ... German: Muskatamadine, Muskatbronzemännchen, Muskatfink ... Haitian Creole French: Mannken miskad ... Indonesian: Bondol dada sisik, Bondol peking ... Italian: Domino, Munia pettosquamato ... Japanese: Amihara, shimakimpara, shimakinpara ... Japanese: シマキンパラ, 얼룩무늬납부리새 ... Lithuanian: Muskatinė amadina ... Mamasa: dena akadi ... Malay: Pipit Pinang ... Norwegian: Muskatfink, Muskatnonne ... Polish: mniszka muszkatowa ... Russian: Чешуйчатогрудая амадина ... Slovak: Amadina muškátová, mníška muškátová ... Spanish: Capuchino Nutmeg, Capuchino Punteado, Cigüita Comearroz, Ciguíta Pechijabao, Monjita Acanelada, Pechijabado, Pinzón Acanelado ... Swedish: Fjällig munia ... Thai: นกกระติ๊ดขี้หมู
Vietnamese: Di đá
Distribution / Range
Introduced birds also have established themselves in other parts of the world, for example, parts of Australia, the United States and in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.
They favor open habitats, including gardens and agricultural fields, where groups of them can often be seen feeding on grass seeds.
Subspecies & Ranges
- Lonchura punctulata punctulata ( Linnaeus, 1758) - Nominate Race
- Range: Occurs naturally in northern Pakistan, India (except northeastern parts), Nepal terai and Sri Lanka.
- Lonchura punctulata subundulata (Godwin-Austen, 1874)
- Range: Bhutan, Bangladesh, northeastern India (Assam) and western Myanmar
- Lonchura punctulata yunnanensis (Parkes, 1958)
- Range: Southern China (southeastern Xizang, southern Sichuan, Yunnan) and northern and northeastern Myanmar
- Lonchura punctulata topela (Swinhoe, 1863)
- Range: Southern Myanmar, Thailand, southeastern China, Hainan Island, Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam
- Lonchura punctulata cabanisi (Sharpe, 1890)
- Range: Philippines (Luzon, Mindoro, Calauit, Palawan, Panay, Negros, Cebu, Mindanao) and northern Borneo (coastal western Sabah and Brunei)
- Lonchura punctulata fretensis (Kloss, 1931)
- Range: Southern Malay Peninsula, Singapore, Sumatra and Nias Island
- Lonchura punctulata nisoria (Temminck, 1830)
- Range: Southern Borneo (western and southern Kalimantan), Java, Bali, and western Lesser Sundas (Lombok, Sumbawa)
- Lonchura punctulata particeps (Riley, 1920)
- Found only on Sulawesi island in Indonesia
- Lonchura punctulata baweana (Hoogerwerf, 1963)
- Found only on Bawean Islands off northeastern Java in Indonesia
- Lonchura punctulata sumbae (Mayr, 1944)
- Range: Sumba, in western Lesser Sundas
- Lonchura punctulata blasii (Stresemann, 1912)
- Range: Central and Eastern Lesser Sundas (Flores east to Timor and Tanimbar Islands)
Spice Finches measure about 5 inches (12.5cm) in length (including the tail).
Adult Spice Finches have a nutmeg brown head, back and tail with distinctive scaling on the chest and lower abdomen. The eyes are a dark brown while the beak and legs are a dark grey.
Males and females look alike and the only way to identify their gender is by the male's courtship song.
The below information is courtesy of Mandy & Paul - Breeder of Canaries & Other Exotic Birds - Singing Wings Aviary - www.singing-wings-aviary.com (A great source for these beautiful little finches)
There are several know sub species of Spice Finches. The most common being the Topela species.
A good diet for Spice Finches includes cereal seed, paddy rice, mixed millets, and green foods.
Sprouted or germinated seeds are usually more easily accepted by "seed addicts" than fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Sprouted seeds are healthier as the sprouting changes and enhances the nutritional quality and value of seeds and grains. Sprouted seeds are lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed to start the growing process - thus reducing the fat stored in the seeds.
- Sprouted seeds will help balance your bird’s diet by adding a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll.
- Soaked and germinated "oil" seeds, like niger and rape seeds, are rich in protein and carbohydrates; while "starch" seeds, such as canary and millets, are rich in carbohydrates, but lower in protein.
- It is an invaluable food at all times; however, it is especially important for breeding or molting birds. Sprouted seeds also serve as a great rearing and weaning food as the softened shell is easier to break by chicks and gets them used to the texture of seeds.
Fresh water, cuttlebone and grit should be supplied at all times. Lettuce, Spinach, Chickweed, spray millet, Eggfood, Broccoli tops and Carrot tops can also be offered on a regular basis. Livefood is not necessary for the species.
Spice Finches are social by nature and will get along together or with other bird species. Just be careful not to put them with other species that might be agressive towards them.
This species can be housed in breeding cages but they will thrive in a large planted aviary with plenty of room to fly, sing and socialize. The best temperature to maintain is around 75 degrees as Spice finches do not do well in cold temperatures.
If not paying close attention you can miss the male's song as it is very quiet and barely noticeable. He will stand upright on the perch while stretching his neck to sing. This species does not sing as often or near as loud as a Society Finch. The hens do not sing but do make clicking or warning sounds.
Spice Finches are free breeders but seem to do better in a colony setting than in single breeding cages. They will adopt finch nest, canary nest or finch boxes. You can supply dry grasses, sisal, coconut fiber or mosses as nesting material. I have seen Spice Finches take over raising other species in a mixed flight.
They will cross with Society Finches and other mannakins so try to add even pairs of different species to your aviaries.
After mating occurs Spice Finches will lay 4-6 eggs in which they will incubate together for 14 days.
It is important to supply a variety of green food, eggfood, soaked seeds and live food for the parent birds to feed the young. Normally, 3 weeks after hatching young Spice birds fledge returning to the nest with the parents at night. It takes another 2 weeks before the young birds are fully independent.
The young birds get adult plumage in splotches and it can take 4-7 months for them to retain full adult plumage.
Care and Feeding:For further information, please refer to the finch websites listed under the heading or, for more general information, the below web resources are helpful:
- Sources for Purchasing or Adopting your Companion or Aviary Bird
- Optimal nutrition to keep your bird healthy
- Housing your bird / Fun & Safe Toys
- Caring for your companion bird
High Quality Species Photos, Videos and/or Articles Contributions are welcome! Click here to upload articles and images.
Please Note: The images on this page are the sole property of the photographers (unless marked as Public Domain). Please contact the photographers directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. Thank you.
The Avianweb strives to maintain accurate and up-to-date information; however, mistakes do happen. If you would like to correct or update any of the information, please send us an e-mail. THANK YOU!