(1019) Munia atricapilla atricapilla.
The Malax Chestnut-bellied Munia.
Loxia atricapilla Vieill, Ois. Chant., p. 84 (1805) (Les Grandes Indes). Munia atricapilla. Blanf. & Oates, ii. p. 183.
Vernacular names. Noue recorded.
Description. Whole head, neck and upper breast deep black; lower rump and upper tail-coverts crimson-maroon, the latter tipped with shining gold; tail brown, the central feathers edged with gold; thighs, under tail-coverts, sometimes the centre of the abdomen dull chestnut-black or smoky-black; remainder of plumage chestnut. The upper back is sometimes washed with grey.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill pale bluish plumbeous; legs and feet darker plumbeous.
Measurements. Total length about 135 mm.; wing 48 to 53 mm.; tarsus 15.5 to 16.5 mm.; culmen about 10 to 11.5 mm.
Young birds are light fulvous-brown, darker on the head and pale buff or fulvous-buff below; sides of head, chin and throat greyish; some young birds are more tinged with chestnut than others.
Distribution. Southern Burma and Siam, from about the latitude of Rangoon and Samkok, the whole of the Malay Penin¬sula to Singapore.
Nidification The Chestnut-bellied Munia breeds during May, June and July, building its nest in grass or reeds in swampy places. The nest is made of rather coarse strips of reed and grass blades, lined with liner stripes and is of the usual football shape. In this, as in many of the other Munias' nests, the entrance sometimes seems to be merely a hole forced through the top of the nest after completion and, accordingly, difficult to find. The eggs number five to seven and forty average 17.1 x 11.9 mm. ; maxima 17.8 x 11.4 and 17.0x 12.2 mm.; minima 15.6 x 12.1 and 16.0 x 11.0 mm.
Habits. These Munias frequent, by preference, grass fields and reeds and bushes in swampy places away from villages, but Col. H. H. Harington found it breeding near Taungyi both in bushes near villages and in grass swamps well away from them. They are gregarious like all Munias and the family parties do not break up until the birds are ready to recommence breeding.