Nutmeg Mannikin

Lonchura punctulata

Nutmeg Mannikin: Resident from India to Taiwan, south to Sri Lanka, and through southeast Asia to East Indies and Philippines. Flocks  have been observed visiting bird feeders in Orange County & Los Angeles, California. There is a permanent flock living wild at the Los Angeles Zoo & can be seen at the bird feeder at the entrance to the zoo.

Cool Facts

Photo taken from:
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America by David Allen Sibley
  • Introduced and established in Hawaii (widespread on all main islands); also introduced to Australia. Preferred habitats include reed beds, rank grass, scrub areas, grasslands, orchards, and cultivated lands, often near human habitation.


  • Length Range: 10-12 cm (4-4.75 in)
  • Weight: 11-14 g (0.4-0.5 oz)
  • Size: Size 1. Very Small (3 - 5 in)
  • Color: White, Brown, Buff
  • Underparts: Scaled white.
  • Upperparts: Red-brown
  • Back Pattern: Solid
  • Belly Pattern: Scaled or Scalloped
  • Breast Pattern: Solid, Scaled or Scalloped
Sex Differences
Sexes look alike.
Juveniles are paler above and buff-brown below.
Range Map
Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Estrildidae
Genus: Lonchura
Species: Lonchura punctulata
A variety of calls but usually a 'Ki-ki-te-te' with the first part almost inaudible.
Identification and Information
See Anatomy of a Bird
  • Length Range: 15 cm (6 in)
  • Weight: 20 g (0.7 oz)
  • Size: 2. Small (5 - 9 in)
  • Color Primary: Brown
  • Underparts: Brown with brown speckles and brown breast.
  • Upperparts: Brown
  • Back Pattern: Solid
  • Belly Pattern: Speckled
  • Breast Pattern: Solid
  • Bill Shape: Cone
  • Eye Color: Deep brown, appearing black except when close, in good light.
  • Head Pattern: Plain
  • Crown Color: Brown
  • Forehead Color: Brown
  • Nape Color: Brown
  • Throat Color: Brown.
  • Cere color: No Data
  • Flight Pattern: Swift bounding flight., Alternates several rapid wing beats with brief periods of wings pulled to sides.
  • Wingspan Range: 25 cm (9.75 in)
  • Wing Shape: Rounded-Wings
  • Tail Shape: Squared Tail
  • Tail Pattern: Solid
  • Upper Tail: Dark Brown
  • Under Tail: Dark Brown
  • Leg Color: Gray-brown
  • Breeding Location: Forest
  • Breeding Type: Monogamous, Solitary nester
  • Breeding Population:
  • Egg Color: White
  • Number of Eggs: 4 - 8
  • Incubation Days: 14
  • Egg Incubator: Female
  • Nest Material: Twigs, grass, leaves, rootlets, bits of debris, and feathers.
  • Migration: Migratory
  • Condition at Hatching: Helpless with sparse tan down. Chicks fledge in 23 days.

Other Names

Similar Species

  • Spice Finch
  • Scaly-breasted Munia
  • The Nutmeg Mannikin often associates with the Chestnut-breasted Mannikin, L. castaneothorax, and is similar in size, but stockier and heavier with a longer tail. The juveniles of both species are quite similar in colour. It is much smaller than sparrows, Passer sp.

Conservation Status

Introduced - No significant population trends.


Sources used to Construct this Page:

The Nutmeg Mannikin lives in reeds, grasses and especially in the crops around farms. It is also often around disturbed areas and vacant blocks.
  • Strahan, R. (ed) 1996. Finches, Bowerbirds and Other Passerines of Australia. Angus and Robertson and the National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.
  • Simpson, K and Day, N. 1999. Field guide to the birds of Australia, 6th Edition. Penguin Books, Australia.
  • Higgins, P.J., Peter, J.M. and Cowling, S.J. (eds) 2006. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Volume 7 (Dunnock to Starlings) Part B Oxford University Press. Melbourne.
Buds, seeds, and fruits.
Forages in small flocks, usually in trees, but often on ground. Uses feeders extensively.

Adult Sexes Similar

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Additional Photos & Video

Adult Sexes Similar




All photos 2008 Rick Swartzentrover - Free for non-profit use.

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