(1029) Uroloncha kelaarti.
The Ceylon Munia.
Munia kelaarti Blyth, Jerdon B. of I., ii, p. 356 (1863) (Ceylon). Uroloncha kelaarti. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 187.
Vernacular names. We-kurulla (Ceylon); Tinnakuruvi(Tam.).
Description. Similar to the preceding bird bat having the rump a deeper black with diamond-shaped spots of white; the lower breast, abdomen, flanks and vent are pinkish white or pale fulvous, each feather boldly barred with blackish.
Colours of soft parts as in the preceding species.
Measurements. Total length about 115 mm.; wing 51 to 54 ram.; tail 38 to 40 mm.; tarsus about 14 mm.; culmen about 13 mm.
Young birds are practically indistinguishable from those of the preceding but show distinct signs of black and white barring on the chin and throat.
Distribution. Ceylon only.
This species is undoubtedly only the geographical representative in Ceylon of the Rufous-bellied Munia but environment or some other cause has evolved a form sufficiently well defined to deserve the rank of species. It should, however, be noted that birds of the preceding species from Travancore do show a slight extension of the mottling of the vent on to the abdomen.
Nidification. The Ceylon Munia breeds in February and March, again in June and July and perhaps later, making a typical Munia's nest but building sometimes well in the interior of dense forests, sometimes in Coffee Estates and even in creepers growing over houses. The eggs appear to number three to six, often three or four only. Thirty average 16.1 x 11.3 mm.: maxima 17.6 x 10.9 and 16.3 x l2.1 mm.; minima 14.2 x 11.0 and 17.0 x 10.1 mm.
Habits. The Ceylon Munia is essentially a Mountain form, being seldom found below 2,000 feet and haunting the highest elevations about the Peak and Newara Eliya. It is said to be swifter in flight than its near relations and to have a loud sibilant note, uttered both on the wing and when at rest. It is less gregarious than most Munias, keeping in small family parties only and soon driving away the young to fend for themselves. They feed almost entirely on seeds and grain and sometimes frequent roads etc. for the purpose of hunting for food among the droppings of cattle and ponies.