THE CELEBEAN MUNIA.
PLATE VI. (FIG. 2).
Donacola atricapilla, pt., Blyth, Ibis, 1870, p. 171.
Munia brunneiceps, Walden, Trans. Zool. Soc. viii. 1872, p. 73, pl. ix. fig. 1.
Munia jagori, Meyer, Journ, fur Ornith. 1873, p. 405.
Munia brunneiceps, Walden, Trans. Zool. Soc. ix. 1875, p. 207.
Munia brunneiceps, Salvad. Ann. Mus. Civ. Gen. vii. 1875, pp. 666, 667.
Munia jagori, Meyer, Ibis, 1879, p. 132.
Munia brunneiceps, Salvad. Ornit. Papuasia, p. 438 (1881).
Munia brunneiceps, Blasius, Journ, fur Ornith. 1883, p. 138.
Figure. Walden, Trans. Zool. Soc. 1872, pl. ix. fig. 1.
Male. “Head, chin, throat, and breast brown ; abdominal stripe, vent, and under tail-coverts black ; remainder of plumage dark chestnut ; wing two inches ” (Tweeddale).
Female. “Head and nape of a lighter and less decided shade of brown” (Tweeddale).
Young. Similar to those of Munia atricapilla, but smaller
Observ. The black mesial stripe in this species forms an almost unbroken narrow line, from the upper part of the breast to the under tail-coverts.
In ‘The Ibis’ for 1870, Mr. E. Blyth called attention to various forms of the Black-headed Munias, which he found in the Leyden Museum and elsewhere, remarking that “Bornean specimens are similar to Indian, with belly and lower tail-coverts black ; in the Sumatran this black is almost obsolete ; and in those from Macassar the black beneath is well developed, while that of the head and neck is much imbrowned. It is quite arbitrary where to draw the line as to what are to be considered species, races, or varieties, in the genus Munia, at least in not a few instances.”
Upon the above remarks the Marquis of Tweeddale separated the Celebean form from the Philippine and Formosan birds in the ‘Transactions of the Zoological Society’ for 1875, under the name of Munia brunneiceps ; “ from a Macassar example of a male collected by Mr. A. R. Wallace, and another from the same locality marked a female.” “ V ere it not (he says) that Mr. E. Blyth had already remarked the imbrowned colouring of the head and neck in examples from Celebes, contained in the Leyden Museum, I should have felt less confidence in considering these Macassar individuals distinct from Munia rubronigra, Hodgs.”
This Celebean Munia is closely allied in every respect to the Philippine bird above described, and almost identical with the Formosan species, which are all insular races of the true Indian form, Munia atricapilla, very diffi¬cult to separate, and should in my opinion be united under one name, Munia minuta, Meyen.
Dr. A. B. Meyer tells us in his ‘Field-Notes on the Birds of Celebes,’ that Munia brunneiceps is found “in flocks in March, near Menado, and in Macassar in January. According to age and sex, vary very much in the intensity of its brown and black colours.
“ Iris brown ; bill bluish ; feet and claws light greyish-blue.”
No. Sex. Mus. Locality. Length. Wing. Tail. Tars. Culm.
a Male E. B. South Celebes (Dr. Platen) 3.65 1.95 1.35 0.55 0.4
b adult. Boucard Celebes. 3.3 2 1.2 0.55 0.45
c adult. Boucard Celebes. 3.5 1.95 1.35 0.6 0.45
The figure (Plate VI. fig. 2) is taken from the specimen a procured by Dr. Platen in South Celebes.