THE PHILIPPINE MUNIA.
PLATE VI. (FIG. 1).
Fringilla minuta, Meyen, Nov. Act. Nat. Cur. Bonn. xvi. 1834, Suppl. p. 86, t. 12, fig. 2 jun.
Amadina minuta, Gray et Mitch. Gen. Birds, ii. p. 370 (1849).
Munia minuta, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av. p. 452 (1850).
Munia minuta, Reichb. Singvogel, p. 39, Note (1861).
Munia (Dermophrys) jagori, Cab. v. Martens, Journ, fur Ornith. 1866, p. 14, No. 60.
Munia (Dermophrys) minuta. v. Martens, Journ, fur Ornithologie, 1866, p. 14, No. 61.
Amadina minuta, Gray, Hand-List Birds, ii. p. 55, No. 6761 (1870). Dermophrys jagori, Cab. Journ, fur Ornith. 1872, p. 316, No. 6.
Munia minuta, Walden, Trans. Zool. Soc. ix. 1875, p. 208, No. 133. Munia jagori, Wald, et Layard, Ibis, 1872, p. 106 ; Walden, Trans. Zool. Soc. ix. 1875, p. 207 ; Salvad. Ann. Mus. Civ. Gen. vii. 1875, p. 667 ; Sharpe, Trans. Linn. Soc. i. 1876, p. 353 ; Tweedd. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1877, pp. 538, 549, 699, 764, 832 ; 1878, pp. 287, 343, 710, 951 ; Salvad. Ann. Mus. Civ. Gen. xvi. 1880, p. 192 ; Scl. Voy. H.M.S. ‘Challenger,’ ii. pp. 6, 8, 22 (1881) ; Salvad. Ornit- Papuasia, p. 437 (1881) ; Guill. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1885, pp. 250, 268 ; Guill. Cruise of Marchesa, ii. Append, i. p. 361 (1886).
Figure. Meyen, Nov. Act. Nat. Cur. Bonn. xvi. Suppl, t. 12, fig. 2 jun.
English. Little Munia. Jagor's Munia. Philippine Munia.
French. Le Petit Jacobin.
German. Der Heine Munia.
Habitat. Philippine Archipelago. Luzon (Meyen et Jagor) ; Zebu and Halmahera (Meyer) ; Mindanao (Challenger Expedition) ; Amparo, S. Leyte, N. Bohol, Zamboanga, Valencia, Dumaquete, Butuan, Placer, San Mateo and Island of Negros (Everett) ; Sulu Island (Guillemard).
Male. Crown of head, nape, and cheeks black-brownish ; chin, throat, mesial stripe, thighs, and under tail-coverts black ; mesial stripe united to the black of the breast, and gradually expanding on the belly ; back, wings and sides of body chestnut-brown ; lower part of rump and upper tail-coverts glistening maroon ; centre tail-feathers and outer edges of the rest glistening ferruginous; axillaries and under wing-coverts yellowish-buff; under surface of wing brownish-buff; iris reddish-brown ; “ bill ash-blue ; legs slate colour : length 11.0 cent., wing 5.0 cent.” (Guillemard).
Female. Similar, but with the black mesial stripe slightly divided on the breast by a narrow chestnut band, as in Munia atricapilla, but less decided.
Young. Similar in every particular to that of Munia atricapilla, but smaller.
Observ. This species has been separated from the rest on very trifling differences, which I think are insufficient to divide it from the Celebean form, although I have retained the synonymy and figured it.
The head in both sexes is brownish-black ; the black mesial stripe in the male is very broad, covers the whole of the abdomen, and is united to the black of the breast. In the female a narrow band of chestnut divides the mesial stripe from the black of the breast.
“The male is larger than the female, and of richer colouring, the head being very nearly black, and the brown of the body a deeper chestnut. The union of the abdominal dark line with the same colour of the throat does not appear to be of any value as a characteristic of the sex ” (Guillemard).
This Philippine form is much smaller than Munia atricapilla.
SOME doubt exists as to whether Fringilla minuta, which was described and figured by Meyen in 1834, is referable to the bird described by Dr. Cabanis in 1872, under the name Dermophrys jagori. Having closely examined and compared specimens of this group of Minnas in my own collection with Meyen’s figure, I am convinced that it is only the young of Dr. Cabanis’s Dermophrys jagori, from the Philippine Islands.
Dr. Cabanis has already described a small species of the Nutmeg group as Oxycerca jagori, which must not be confused with the present species, for which I shall retain the earlier specific appellation, minuta.
From an elaborate paper on the ‘Birds of the Philippine Archipelago,’ published in the ‘Transactions of the Zoological Society’ for 1875, by the Marquis of Tweeddale, I have been enabled to confirm my views from his remarks on “two examples (male and female) of an almost black-headed Munia, which were obtained in Zebu by Dr. A. B. Meyer. Both have the upper tail-coverts glistening dark chestnut, and the middle pair of rectrices rich glistening ferruginous. In the male the black extends from the breast to the under tail-coverts, forming a broad, mesial black, continuous band. In the female this black mesial band is interrupted by a chestnut band crossing the breast. In examples of M. rubronigra from the Deyra Doon, Bengal, Tippera, Mymensing, and Tongoo, as well as of M. formosana from Formosa, and M. brunneiceps from Celebes and Banjarmassing, the black mesial band is not continuous, nor is it so broadly developed on the abdomen. In M. rubronigra the whole head is intensely black. In Munia formosana the occiput and nape are faded brown ; and Mr. Swinhoe has established that this is normal in the adult bird. The Philippine, Celebean, and South-Bornean forms do not appear to have the head so intensely black as in M. rubronigra, although darker than M. formosana.
“In the Philippine examples the head and nape are not of a true black, but rather of a dark brown. This has also been pointed out by Dr. Cabanis. In M. brunneiceps of Celebes the head is still less black, and the black abdominal band is interrupted.
“May not Meyen’s Fringilla minuta be M. jagori in first plumage, before the black feathers come in ? Otherwise it is remarkable that a species stated by Meyen to occur in numberless troops in the Luzon sugar- plantations has not since he wrote (1834) been recognised.
“Eggs of a little amadavad (from the Island of Negros), with red body and black head, are probably the eggs of the little Munia jagori, which accord with this description. They are pure white. Axis 7'", diam. 5"'.”
The nest has not yet been described.
According to Dr. F. H. H. Guillemard “this little species was abundant in Sulu, collected in flocks of from ten to thirty individuals, and feeding in the grass. Their habits and note reminded me strongly of the African Estrelda astrild.”
The species has been procured in many of the smaller islands of the Philippine Archipelago which I have placed under the habitat.
I am indebted to Canon H. B. Tristram for the loan of the specimen procured by Mr. A. H. Everett in Cebu, one of the Philippine Islands.
The adult bird has not hitherto been figured.
No. Sex. Mus. Locality. Length. Wing. Tail. Tars. Culm.
a Male E. B. Philippines. 3.95 1.95 1.5 0.6 0.4
b Female E. B. Philippines. 3.45 1.95 1.2 0.6 0.5
c Female H. B. Tristram. Cebu, Philippines (Everett) 4.05 1.95 1.05 0.55 0.4
The figure (Plate VI. fig. 1) is taken from the male in my own collection.