(1036) Amandava amandava.
The Indian Red Munia.
Fringilla amandava Linn., Syst. Nat., 12th ed. i, p. 319 (1766) (Calcutta). Sporaeginthus amandava. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 192.
Vernacular names. Lai Munia (Hind.) ; Torra jinuwayi (Tel.).
Description. - Adult male. "Whole head and upper plumage crimson, the bases of the feathers brown and showing through in varying degree; when much abraded the crimson almost dis¬appears ; when quite freshly moulted there are a few tiny specks of white on the back, becoming larger and more numerous on the rump and upper tail-coverts ; tail black, the outer feathers tipped with white; below from chin to breast deep crimson, the latter spotted with white; flanks crimson, boldly spotted with white; centre of the abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts black ; wing-coverts and quills brown, the coverts and innermost secondaries with a terminal white spot; the wing-coverts in freshly-moulted birds are narrowly edged with crimson.
Colours of soft parts. Iris orange-red to crimson ; bill red, dusky at the base; legs and feet fleshy-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 115 mm; wing 40 to 48 mm.: tail 37 to 38 mm.; tarsus about 14 mm.; culmen about 8 mm.
Female. Above brown, the scapulars, wing-coverts and inner secondaries tipped white : upper tail-coverts crimson with minute terminal white spots ; tail brownish black; lores black; chin yellowish white ; throat and breast darker and more grey ; abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts bright saffron.
Young birds are all brown above, the wing-feathers broadly edged with fulvous ; below dull buff.
Distribution. Ceylon, all India, except the Punjab, to the Himalayas; Upper Burma as far South as the Upper Chindwin, Cochin China, Siam, Singapore and Java. Whether this bird is really indigenous to these South-Eastern countries seems doubtful and it may have been introduced to them as it has been to Mauritius.
Nidification. The Red Munia breeds all over India except in some of the more arid and bare districts. Nests may probably be found in any month of the year but most birds breed after the rains commence in late June and continue up to October. In Assam, Bengal and the wetter portions of their range they freely breed also from March to May. The nests are merely rather small, neat replicas of those of other Munias, made of fine grasses and more neatly finished than most. They do not breed in communities as some Munias do but I have found two or three nests in the same garden and, occasionally, two or more are said to set up house together and occupy the same nest. They lay five to ten eggs and one hundred average 14.4 x 11.5 mm.: maxima 17.0 x 12.1 and 15.5 x 12.5 mm.; minima 13.0 x 10.6 mm. In shape they are broader ovals than the eggs of the other genera of this Subfamily.
Habits. This little Munia is found all over the better-watered plains and up to 6,000 feet in the hills of Southern India, 3,000 feet in the Northern Himalayas and up to 4,000 feet in the hills South of the Brahmaputra and Chin Hills. It is a frequenter of villages, gardens and cultivation but it also occurs, where it is abundant, in grass-land and in thin scrub-jungle. It is a popular cage-bird, thriving in confinement and in this state will eat bananas, bread and milk, " suttoo " and other food as well as grain and seed. It has a very beautiful, though very feeble little song and is a most charming, confiding little pet.