A small songbird, the Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) name is based on its scale-like feather markings on the breast and belly. On the adult bird, the pattern is distinctive against a white background, with a dark chestnut-brown above. The colour varies in different population, some being more duller brown in colour. The juveniles are a plain brown all over and have paler underparts.

Native to Asia, occurring from India, Sri Lanka east to Indonesia and the Philippines. They have been introduced to other parts of the world, with feral populations having established themselves in other countries around the world, including parts of Australia.

Found in grasslands and tropical plains, the Scaly-breasted Munia eat grass seeds, berries and small insects. They are highly social and are found in small groups, sometimes with other species of munia.

During breeding, they construct dome-shaped nests using grasses or bamboo leaves.

Common name
Nutmeg Mannikin, Spice Finch, Mannikin Spice Finch, Spotted Mannikin, Ricebird.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Estrildidae
  • Genus: Lonchura
  • Species: L. punctulata
  • Binomial name: Lonchura punctulata