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Chestnut Munia, Lonchura atricapilla


Black-headed Munia

The Black-headed Munia, Lonchura atricapilla, is also known as Chestnut Muni. Chestnut Mannikin, Black-headed Nun, Black-headed Mannikin, Southern Black-headed Munia or “Black Hooded Nun”.

It was formerly considered a subspecies of the Tricolored Munia (Lonchura malacca atricapilla)


Distribution / Range

The Black-headed Munia is found in Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

They inhabit open grassland and cultivation.

Combined distribution of Tricoloured Munia (Lonchura malacca) and Black-headed Munia


Chestnut Munia, Lonchura atricapilla


The Black-headed Munia averages 11–12 cm in length.

Males and females look alike – but only the male sings. The adult plumage is mostly brown, except for the black head. Some races also have a black abdomen. They have a stubby pale grey beak.

Young birds are pale brown above, and lack the black head of the adult. They are pale buff below Immature birds are indistinguishable from juvenile White-headed Nuns (Lonchura. maja) and juvenile Scaly-breasted Munias (Lonchura punctulata).


Recognized Subspecies

  • Lonchura atricapilla atricapilla (Nominate): Indian – Black-headed Munia, Eastern Black-headed Munia, Indian Chestnut Munia
  • Lonchura atricapilla rubroniger: Nepal Black-headed Munia
  • Lonchura atricapilla sinensis: Malaysian Chestnut Munia, Chinese Chestnut Munia
  • Lonchura atricapilla formosana: Formosan Chestnut Munia, Taiwan Chestnut Munia, Taiwan Black-headed Munia, Grey-faced Munia
  • Lonchura atricapilla deignani: Deignan’s Chestnut Munia, Indochina Chestnut Munia
  • Lonchura atricapilla brunneiceps: Brown-headed Munia
  • Lonchura atricapilla jagori: Philippine Chestnut Munia, Philippine Munia, Philippine Black-headed Munia
  • Lonchura atricapilla selimbauensis: Selimbau Chestnut Munia
  • Lonchura atricapilla obscura: Dark-backed Chestnut Munia
  • Lonchura atricapilla batakana: Batakana Chestnut Munia, Batakana Munia

Black-headed Munia, Lonchura atricapilla

Diet / Feeding

The Black-headed Munia feeds mainly on grain and other seeds..


Nesting / Breeding

Its nest is a large domed grass structure situated in a bush or tall grass. The average clutch consists of 4 to 7 white eggs.

Calls / Vocalizations

Only the male sings. His song sounds similar to a kitten mewing. The call begins with a sries of almost inaudible clicks, followed by an extended whine, then terminates in a series of slurred notes.

Molting Chestnut Munia - molting

Black-headed Munia, Lonchura atricapilla

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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