wetlands
a publication of Sungei Buloh Nature Park

Vol 8 No 2
Aug 2001


survivors of time: the horseshoe crab

insect study
tips on insect watching

zonation:
the landward mangrove fringe

landmark invasion
a walk in the past

fat worries of common
redshanks


Allan Teo
long-lasting companion
of the park

young naturalists
of the park

a nature journal
javan munia
 
nature journal
javan munia
(Lonchura leucogastroides)
by ramakrishnan r. k.
assistant park officer

The Javan Munia is a small, seed-eating bird found in Sungei Buloh Nature Park. It was introduced to Singapore from Indonesia in the early 19205. Often considered a pest by farmers, these birds are caught and sold in large numbers when they congregate in flocks during rice harvesting time. These birds are sometimes bought up by Buddhist devotees and released on Vesak Day.

The Javan Munia can be found in all kinds of cultivated areas and natural grassy patches in Singapore. Like all Munias, it feeds on the seeds of the grasses. Other species seen at Sungei Bulob include the Scaly-breasted, Chestnut and White-headed Munias.

This species is usually outnumbered by the Scaly-breasted Munia, which is often seen feeding on the tall grass at the fresh water ponds area at Route 3 or the vacant land beside the Visitor Carpark. However, this is about to change as the Javan Munia has successfully adapted to the man-made environment, nesting and roosting on buildings and potted plants.

In March 2000, I found a pair busy collecting strips of grass and heading towards a potted Boston Fern. They were building their nest on the potted fern that was hanging along the extended roof around the Visitor Centre. These birds had chosen a safe and sheltered place close to people. I further discovered that there was not 1 nest but a total of 20 nests of which 15 were in use.

The nest is built out of grass stems, stripped grass leaves or flowering heads woven into an untidy ball with a side entrance. The female lays from 4 to 5 white eggs and breeding usually starts from March to July.

note: Visitors are advised to leave nesting birds alone. When disturbed, these birds might abandon their nests which would be detrimental to the young.
   
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