Tag Archives: Nutmeg Mannikins

All kinds of backyard birds

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Backyard Birding.’ See more responses here. Also posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.

Almost all the birds I see in the backyard are fairly common, but no less interesting for that.

Nutmeg mannikin

Nutmeg mannikin (Lonchura punctulata) is also known as scaly-breasted munia and spice finch. They feed on grass seeds. Here, a mannikin is feeding on cane grass seeds. It will work its way up the stem until the whole plant is stripped and the farther up it goes, the more the stem bends.

Nutmeg mannikin

A nutmeg mannikin strips seeds off a stem of cane grass on the Big Island.
Nutmeg mannikins are often seen in flocks and are flighty birds. By this, I mean they’re the kind of bird that constantly flits around and gets farther away in the process. They feed on grass seeds, climbing up the stems and stripping the seeds off the ends.

In Hawaii, when cane grass (Pennisetum purpureum) goes to seed it’s a popular feast for a variety of birds. Here, one of a small group of nutmeg mannikins, busily plucks seeds off this stem before moving on for more.