Nutmeg Mannikin

Domesticated Introduced

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.

Interesting Information

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.


Adult Description

  • 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 Similar


Juveniles are paler above and buff-brown below.


Photo taken from: The Sibley Field Guide by David Allen Sibley


The Nutmeg Mannikin lives in reeds, grasses and especially in the crops around farms. It is also often around disturbed areas and vacant blocks.


Forages in small flocks, usually in trees, but often on ground. Uses feeders extensively.


Buds, seeds, and fruits.



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
    Subfamily: Estrildidae
Genus: Lonchura
Species: Lonchura punctulata

Similar Species

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.

Bird Sound

Eggs look like this

Photo taken from: ARCTOS Collaborative Collection Management Solution