1017. Munia malaeca malacca

(1017) Munia malacea malacea (Linn.).
Munia malacea malacea, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 78.
The Tange of this little Munia still requires some working out. It is common in Ceylon and ranges up to the West coast of India to Ratnagiri and inland in the North to Belgaum.
It breeds practically anywhere in open country, in grass, reeds, less often in bushes, while once its nest was taken from the top of a stunted Cocoanut-palm. More than anywhere else, however, it makes its nest in sugar-cane fields, and probably at least five out of every six nests will he taken from these.
Colonel Butler took a great number of their nests in Belgaum during August and September, all from sugar-cane fields. Often he found several nests close to one another, once four or five nests containing eggs within a radius of a few yards. The nests were generally built where the cane was thickest and highest, being placed at all heights from 2 to 7 feet from the ground.
He describes one nest as follows (Hume’s ‘Nests and Eggs,’ vol. ii, p, 127) :—“A nest containing six pure white eggs. It con¬sisted of an immense ball of dry grass, coarse exteriorly, fine interiorly and round the entrance, which consisted of a small hole in the centre of the nest upon one side, the whole structure being about the size of a child’s head, and was built in the centre of a sugar¬cane field, suspended from the tops of the sugar-cane, and not supported from below, as is usually the case with the nests of Munias, The sugar-cane was very tall and dense, and the nest, although a large one, well concealed, and probably it would have escaped notice altogether had I not observed the old birds passing backwards and forwards with grass in their mouths.”
Some other nests, he adds, differed "in being densely lined with a species of fine green flowering grass, many of the flowering stalks of which protruded round the entrance, the exterior being composed of coarse, broadish blades of dry reeds.”
In Ceylon Phillips found them building their nests in coarse grass in swamps, and two other nests sent to me from Colombo were both built in bushes in the Cinnamon-gardens. In Travancore Stewart obtained the nest in grass-fields, but the birds were not common, the greater part of the hills being too heavily forested for them.
They breed principally after the hreak of the rains in July, August and September, but I have eggs from Ceylon taken in April, June and October, while Davidson obtained a clutch in Kanara on the 4th March.
The eggs in a full clutch vary from five to seven, generally six. They are white, like all Munias’ eggs, the texture very smooth and soft but quite glossless and the shells decidedly fragile. In shape they are rather long ovals, some eggs being decidedly pointed.
Fifty eggs average 16.3 x 11.5 mm, : maxima 17.1 x 11.5 and 16.5 x 12.2 mm. ; minima 15.5 x 10.8 and 15.6 x 10.6 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1017. Munia malaeca malacca
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Malabar Black Headed Munia
Tricolored Munia
Lonchura malacca
Vol. 3
Term name: 

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