738. Sporaeginthus amandava.
The Indian Red Munia,
Fringilla amandava, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 319 (1766). Fringilla punicea, Horsf. Tr. Linn. Soc. xiii, p. 160 (1820). Estrelda amandava (Linn.) Blyth, Cat. p. 118 ; Horsf. M. Cat. ii, p. 502; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 359; Hume, N. & E. p. 454; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 662; Hume, Cat. no. 704; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 264. Sporaeginthus amandava (Linn.), Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xiii, p. 320; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 147.
The Red Wax-bill, Jerd.; Lal munia, Hind.; Torra jinuwayi, Tel.
Coloration. Male. The fully adult has the whole head, upper plumage, neck, breast, and sides of the body crimson, with the ashy or brown bases of the feathers showing through more or less; rump and upper tail-coverts, sides of the neck, breast, and body spotted with white ; abdomen, vent, and under tail-coverts black, the feathers of the abdomen with crimson fringes; wings and coverts brown, each covert-feather and the tertiaries with a terminal white spot; primary-coverts and winglet plain brown; tail blackish, the outer feathers tipped white.
Female. Upper plumage and scapulars brown; upper tail-coverts dull crimson with minute white tips; tail dark' brown, the lateral feathers tipped white; wings brown, the median and greater coverts with the tertiaries tipped white; lores black; chin and throat whitish; sides of the head and neck and the breast ashy brown; remainder of lower plumage dull saffron, the sides of the body more or less tinged with ashy.
The young have the whole upper plumage brown, the wing-coverts and tertiaries broadly edged with fulvous; the whole lower plumage uniform ochraceous brown ; bill dark brown.
Iris orange-red; bill red, dusky at base of culmen; legs and feet brownish flesh (Butler).
Length about 4.5; tail 1.6; wing 1.9; tarsus .55 ; bill from gape .4.
Sharpe is of opinion that the male bird of this species undergoes a seasonal change of plumage. I cannot follow him in this, as all the evidence 1 can find in the large series of this bird in the British Museum leads me to the same conclusion I arrived at some years ago with respect to the allied Burmese race, viz., that the male is a very considerable period in acquiring his perfectly mature dress, but that having once acquired it he never changes.
The nestling male at the first autumn appears to don the female plumage, and from this point slowly advances step by step towards his complete adult plumage, which is probably not fully attained till the second autumn or a short time previously.
Distribution. The whole of India proper from Sind to Assam and from the foot of the Himalayas to Cape Comorin ; Ceylon; the hill-ranges of Assam, Cachar, Sylhet, and Tipperah. This species is again found in Siam, Cochin China, Singapore, and Java.
Habits, Appears to breed twice a year, once in the cold season and once in the rains, constructing its nest near the ground. The eggs measure about .55 by .43.
* The females of the two species are not separable by any characters known to me.