Scaly-breasted Munia Juvenile, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

This Small Bird Has Too Many Names

This Small Bird Has Too Many Names


Scaly-breasted Munia Juvenile, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog This Small Bird Has Too Many Names

Scaly-breasted Munia Juvenile


If you need something new to worry about, here’s a problem few have considered: This small bird has too many names.

Officially, it’s a Scaly-breasted Munia. At least that’s it’s name now until something changes.

Or, it’s a Spotted Munia (in some sources).

Before its recent name change, it was a Nutmeg Mannikin. But in pet stores it was sold as a Spice Finch.

If you’re a ornithologist, you would know this bird as being Lonchura punctuate (or L. punctuate).

Then, if you own one as a pet, you would call it by the name you gave it, such as “Brownie,” or “Cutie Pie,” or “Little Tweet.” Certainly, this list could go to include more possibilities than all the sounds made by humans.

Meanwhile, this bird is too busy being a bird to bother with such matters.

I suppose this is one of the advantages of having a small brain. There’s no room for nonsense.

By the way, the bird in the above photo is a juvenile. When it matures, it will look like this.


Scaly-breasted Munia, Adult, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog post This Small Bird Has Too Many Names

Scaly-breasted Munia, Adult


Then we might call it, “Pretty Bird.”

Much success,

Steve Kaye

The names given birds changes occasionally. Find out what the birds think about this at:

This Really Made the Birds Mad


Birding Resources

These photos were taken at the Fullerton Arboretum.

See more photos of birds at the Fullerton Arboretum: Fullerton Arboretum Birds


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6 Comments
  • Lin Jenkinson
    Posted at 11:37h, 16 February

    I am a new birder and just have a ‘flighty’ interest that is growing- ha! thanks for this and I love this bird but a bird by any other name would still be Spotted Munia or a Spice Finch- the absolute best one. Thanks

  • Kathryn Grace
    Posted at 16:49h, 16 February

    What a gorgeous bird! I don’t recall ever seeing one of those, by whatever name it might be called. But now I’m curious. Why so many names? And why so different?

  • Penny Schafer
    Posted at 17:30h, 18 February

    Just beautiful, both the fluffy baby and the adult. Great job as always Steve!

  • Russ
    Posted at 18:13h, 18 February

    This bird is like us Steve, a bit flashy when young, but utterly spectacular when fully grown. Thanks for keeping me in the loop, I’m sure we’ll meet again soon.

  • Thilda Zorn
    Posted at 19:18h, 18 February

    Steve, I can’t tell you the name of the tiny bird (not a humming….) which flew against my window and than rested gently in my hand, until I finally put it into a swinging flowerpot in my garden. What a wonder, our life and the life of all creatures around us. Thank you for teaching us, Steve!
    When I came to Guatemala almost 30 years ago I was always shocked seeing killed snakes on the path, that at least doesn’t happen anymore. Teaching respect for all creatures also is my goal.
    Thilda, Casa Milagro

  • Bob Franz
    Posted at 07:07h, 19 February

    Hi Steve,

    A few years ago when I was monitoring Craig Park, I was told that this bird could be seen at the extreme south end of the park south of the overflow parking lot. I looked there a few times but could not spot it. Bob

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