The Black-headed Munia, Lonchura atricapilla (formerly considered as a subspecies of the Tricoloured Munia Lonchura malacca atricapilla) also known as Chestnut Munia, is a small passerine bird. This estrildid finch is a resident breeding bird in Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, & Vietnam. Known as maya pula ("red maya", to distinguish it from the predominantly brownish Tree Sparrow which is also called maya) in the Philippines, this bird was the former national bird of the Philippines (the Philippine national bird is now the Philippine eagle).
The Black-headed Munia has several subspecies that are recognized as followed:
- Nominate race Lonchura atricapilla atricapilla
- Lonchura atricapilla rubroniger
- Lonchura atricapilla sinensis
- Lonchura atricapilla formosana
- Lonchura atricapilla deignani
- Lonchura atricapilla brunneiceps
- Lonchura atricapilla jagori
- Lonchura atricapilla selimbauensis
- Lonchura atricapilla obscura
- Lonchura atricapilla batakana
Black-headed Munia nest. Nest is dome-shaped; entrance/exit point is visible
The Black-headed Munia is a small gregarious bird which feeds mainly on grain and other seeds. It frequents open grassland and cultivation. The nest is a large domed grass structure in a bush or tall grass into which 4-7 white eggs are laid.
The Black-headed Munia is 11-12 cm in length. The adult has a stubby pale grey bill, black head, and brown body. Some races also have a black belly.
The sexes are similar, but immature birds have uniform pale brown upperparts, lack the dark head and have white to pale buff underparts.