For the last few days, we have been having guests on our window — a couple enjoying themselves and probably on a lookout for a site to build their sweet home. The couple is of sweetly-behaved, dusky, Scaly-breasted munias a.k.a. spotted munias, which seem to show off their chainmail chests when the sun falls upon them. Scaly-breasted Munia is a beautiful looking bird that is normally the same size as a Sparrow and may not be that hard to find even in the cities. They’re mainly found in flocks and use soft calls or whistles to communicate.
This wasn’t the first time I had seen a Scaly Breasted Munia. This has since been almost a daily occurrence since June. There are two of them outside the window tweeting away as I type this out. They visit in the morning and in the afternoon. They are probably nesting somewhere on our apartment campus.
The Scaly-Breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) is a wide-ranging little finch native to tropical Asia. They’re also known in the pet trade as nutmeg mannikin or spice finch. The species is endemic to Asia and occurs from India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia and the Philippines. A species of the genus Lonchura, it was formally described and named by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Its name is based on the distinct scale-like feather markings on the breast and belly.
Last week they were sitting on the balcony grill. They are now used to my presence and I was able to open the window slowly and push out my mobile between the grills and take their photos while they were in a playful mood. I look forward to their company every afternoon. I am hoping they might even consider setting up a home in the shrubs on our balcony garden. Rent-free, of course, with all meals!
We have no intention to cage them. I am against caging of birds. Also, possession, display or sale of munias belonging to Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act is illegal in India.