Scaly-breasted Munia, Lonchura punctulata
This species, native to Asia, has had various names, including Nutmeg Mannikin, Spotted Munia,
and Spice Finch. It is a popular cage bird and frequent escapee, with resulting wild populations
in several warm-weather areas in North America. Munias are recognized as an established wild
species in Southern California, but reports of wild birds in the state north of San Luis Obispo
County have not yet been numerous enough to justify treating the species as established in
the wild there. Nonetheless, there have been many reported sightings of these birds, including
some of juveniles, in the area around Almaden Lake in southern Santa Clara County where
I took this photograph. Scaly-breasted Munias roost as well as nesting in their nest structures,
so non-breeding birds may carry nest materials. See Robin Restall, Munias and Mannikins
(Yale U. Press, 1997).
The same bird as the one shown above. The sex of Scaly-breasted Munias cannot
be reliably determined by appearance.