THE FERRUGINOUS MUNIA.
PLATE VII. (FIGS. 1, 2).
Loxia ferruginosa, Sparrm. Mus. Carls, pl. 90, 91, male et jun. (1789).
Loxia ferruginosa, Lath. Gen. Syn. suppl. ii. p. 196 (1801) ; Lath. Ind. Ornith. Suppl, ii. p. xiv. (1801) ; Shaw, Gen. Zoology, ix. p. 327 (1815).
Coccothraustes ferruginosa, Vieill. Nouv. Dict. xiii. p. 541 (1817) ; Vieill. Tabl. Encycl. Meth. iii. p. 1012 (1823).
Ferruginous Grosbeak, Lath. Gen. Hist. Birds, v. p. 265 (1822).
Fringilla majanoides, Temm. Pl. Col. 500, fig. 3 (1838).
Munia ferruginosa, Blyth, Cat. Birds Mus. A. S. B. p. 116 (1849) ; Reichb. Singvogel, p. 41, pl. xv. figs. 134, 135 (1861) ; Wald. Ibis, 1871, p. 177.
Amadina ferruginea, Gray et Mitch. Gen. Birds, ii. p. 370 (1849).
Munia ferruginea, Bp. Consp. Gen. Av. i. p. 451 (1850) ; Bernst. Journ, fur Ornith. 1861, p. 180 ; Wallace, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1863, p. 486 ; Selater, Vert. Anim. Gard. Zool. Soc. p. 239 (1883). Dermophrys ferruginea, Cab. Mus. Hein. i. p. 174, Note (1851). Amadina ferruginosa, Gray, Hand-List Birds, ii. p. 54 (1870). Spermestes ferruginosa, Russ, Stubenvogel, p. 166, pl. vi. fig. 29 (1879).
Figures. Sparrm. Mus. Carls, pl. 90, 91. Temm. Pl. Col. 500, fig. 3. Reichb. Singvogel, pl. xv. figs. 134, 135. Ruse, Stubenvogel, pl. vi. fig. 29.
English. The Black-breasted Moja. Javan Maja-Finch. Black-throated, Nun. Black-throated white-headed Nun. Javan Nun. Ferruginous Grosbeak. Ferruginous Munia. Ferruginous Finch.
French. Le Majan a poitrine noire. Gros-bec Majanoide. La Nonnette a tete blanche et a poitrine noire.
German. Die schwarzbrustige Maja oder Nonne. Die schwarzbrustige Nonnen-Amadine.
Habitat. Java. Flores (Wallace).
Male. Crown, sides of head, and hind neck white ; back, wings, and sides of body dark chestnut brown ; rump and upper tail-coverts glistening dark maroon ; centre tail-feathers and outer edges of the rest glistening dark ferruginous ; chin, throat, breast, mesial stripe, flank, thighs, and under tail-coverts black ; axillaries, under wing-coverts and inner edges of wing-feathers yellowish-buff; iris reddish-brown ; bill plumbeous, whi¬tish at the tip ; legs slaty-black : length 4.1, wing 0.5, tail 1.5, tarsus 0.6, culmen 0.45.
Female. Similar, with a slight tinge of yellowish-buff on the crown and nape.
Young. Above dark rufous brown ; primaries, secondaries, and tail-feathers brown, edged with pale rufous brown ; chin and throat buffish-white ; under parts fulvous, palest on abdomen and under tail-coverts ; iris dark hazel brown ; bill and legs dull slaty-brown : length 3.85, wing 2.0, tail 1.5, tarsus 0.6, culmen 0.45.
THE little Munias which form the present group, although possessing white or pale-coloured heads, still retain the black mesial stripe, which is more or less developed on the abdomen, but in the last one (Munia pallida) it is obsolete. These pale-headed birds hold, in my opinion, the closest relationship to the former five black-and-brown-headed species.
The Ferruginous Munia was first described and figured by Sparrman in his ‘Museum Carlsonianum,’ published between the years 1786-89. The figure in plate 90 represents an adult bird, which he says is a male, but whether this is so is difficult to decide, the two sexes being alike. In plate 91 is depicted what Sparrman calls the female ; this is a representation of a young bird (and not the female) in its fulvous brown plumage, a charac¬teristic of the whole of the young birds of this peculiar form of Weaver.
The distribution of this very pretty species is apparently restricted to the islands of Java and Flores.
“This bird,” Bernstein tells us, “is, like, Munia oryzivora, a well-known frequenter of the inhabited regions of Java. The two sexes cannot be dis¬tinguished from one another in anything save that the old males have a darker and more pronounced colouring. When Bonaparte described the plumage of the female as differing from that of the male, this statement was founded on a mistake, and the description of the female given has re¬ference to the plumage of the young. During the months when the rice fields are flooded and under cultivation, Munia ferruginea, like the rice-bird, inhabits small woods, thickets and hedges along the roads, or between fields and meadows : sometimes, also, it lives in little wildernesses formed by Alang Alang and low bushes, which latter it seems to prefer, as I never yet found it missing in such places. As soon, however, as the rice begins to ripen, it betakes itself to the fields, and by its numbers not unfrequently works considerable damage. Smaller and quicker in its movements than the rice-bird, it is quite as easily kept in captivity on rice and other species of grain ; it is also sociable towards other small birds and companions, with whom it is accustomed to sleep close together on the same perch. Its call-note which one frequently hears is a clear wit-wit-wit. I have never heard its song, but on the other hand have often found its nest. The latter is always placed in a low position, a few inches, at most half a foot, above the ground ; sometimes in a small shrub standing between the Alang-Alangs ; sometimes it is built among this grass and supported by its blades, but never immediately upon the ground. It is round in shape, with the entrance at the side, and is of considerable extent in proportion to the size of the bird, as its diameter usually amounts to 6 inches.
“All the nests which I have found belonging to this species were com¬posed exclusively of blades and fibres of various grasses, more especially of wool-bearing ones, which materials were only loosely woven together on the outside, and were also mixed with larger leaves and those of the Alang which gave to the whole structure a somewhat dishevelled appearance ; while inside they were carefully and more finely entwined, and well mixed with soft grass wool. The pure white, rather long-shaped eggs, of which usually six or seven, and but rarely four, are found in one nest, measure 16-17 mm. in diameter, in a few cases only 15 mm., while their greatest transverse diameter amounts to 11-12 mm.”
a Male E. B. Java. 3 2 1.35 0.65 0.45
b Male E. B. Java (H. Blyth). 4.1 2.05 1.5 0.6 0.45
c Female E. B. Java. 3.85 2 1.45 0.6 0.5
d Male E. B. Java. 4.25 2 1.5 0.65 0.45
e jun. E. B. Java. 3.85 2 1.5 0.6 0.45
The figures (Plate VII.) are taken from the male (fig. 1) b, and the young bird (fig. 2) e, both in my own collection.