Scaly-breasted Munia

Scientific Name: Lonchura punctulata

Malay Name: Ciak-Padi Pinang

Chinese Name: 斑文鸟

Range: Found from the Himalayan foothills to the Indian subcontinent, China and Southeast Asia

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: punctulata, subundulata, yunnanensis, topela, cabanisi, fretensis, nisoria, sumbae, blasii, baweana, particeps.

Local Subspecies: fretensis (resident), topela (introduced)

Size: 12-12.5 cm

Identification: The introduced topela shows distinctive plumage pattern with brown upperparts contrasting with brownish scales on breast and flanks, chestnut-tinged head-sides and whitish centre of belly and vent. Local race fretensis has paler upperparts and bolder/blacker scaling below. Juvenile is duller and scales are either very faint or not visible.

Similar looking species: Chestnut Munia, White-headed Munia

Habitat: Urban areas as well as cultivated lands, grasslands, scrub, secondary growth.

Behaviour/Ecology: Highly gregarious and forages in small flocks, sometimes with other Munia species.

Local Status: Common resident and common introduced resident

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Kranji Marsh, Lorong Halus, Punggol Barat, Tampines Eco Green, Tuas, Satay by the Bay, Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong.

Featured articles:


BirdLife International. (2016). Lonchura punctulata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

Wells, D. R. (1999). The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula (Vol. 1). Academic Press, London.

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