Species group: Mannikins and Munias
Other common names: Bronze Munia; Bronze-winged Mannikin; Hooded Weaver; Hooded Finch
Scientific name: Lonchura cucullata
The tiny Bronze Mannikin is a hardy, agreeable finch with a surprisingly feisty attitude. Easy to feed and eager to breed, these small birds can make a lively addition to the aviary, although they may be overlooked because of their small size and quiet plumage. This species is a widespread, highly successful bird of open lands over a wide area of subSaharan Africa. It has also been introduced to Puerto Rico. These social birds work together to build a new communal nest each night.
The slim, graceful little Bronze Mannikin has a dark brown face and bib, as well as dark brown upperparts. Look for the bronze or purple shimmer on the crown, especially on the male in good light. There is also a green metallic gloss on the shoulders and the sides of the chest. All Lonchura are difficult to sex by eye, but you may identify the Bronze Mannikin male by his behavior, since he will perform a soft warbling song and dance to charm his female.
8 - 13 grams (0.3 - 0.45 oz.)
8 - 9 centimeters (3.1 - 3.5 in.)
5 - 7 years
Behavior / temperament:
Their bold personality makes the elegant little Bronze Mannikin worth a second or third look. They can be used to create a colony breeding aviary, where the males will sing and display to impress the females. Perhaps to make up for their small size, they have a large spirit and they are more likely than many mannikins to be aggressive toward other species found in their habitat. Keep their flight well-supplied with lots of bird-safe browse and grasses, to give these busy birds plenty of weaving materials for their projects.
Bronze Mannikins exercise by flying rather than hopping or climbing, and they are happiest flying in their own territory, although a few rare birds have learned to fly to their owners. Many so-called finch cages are only suitable to serve as hospital or temporary homes for birds awaiting sale. The permanent home of a pair of Mannikans should be 36” in length, 24” in width, and 18” in height, with ½” bar spacing. A larger flight would not be excessive. A variety of perches, swings, and even toys will keep them busy and allow them to provide you with endless action and entertainment. They love bathing, so have a bath available, or you may find them trying to splash in the drinking water.
It's possible and even advisable to house several pairs of Bronze Mannikins in a large colony flight. As a rule of thumb, always remember that finches can't count above six. Therefore, if you want to prevent a pecking order from developing in a flock, you can have one pair of birds in the flight, or you can have three pairs or more in the flock, but if you have between 3 and 5 birds, then the finches at the bottom of the pecking order could be harassed, injured, or even killed.
Watch out for a couple of issues if you keep the Bronze Mannikin in a mixed species aviary. Do not house them with other Lonchura finches, because they could hybridize. There have also been reports that they are rather aggressive for their size and more likely to annoy other birds than most mannikins, so keep an eye on what's going on in your flight.
The Bronze Mannikin is easy to feed, although you should never expect this bird to subsist on dry seed alone. However, the backbone of the diet will be a small seed mix, so obtain the best quality you can afford. They love many varieties of millet, including spray millet. The seed should be fresh enough to sprout, and you should test it by sprouting it regularly. You should also supply a small chopped salad containing such items as chopped romaine, grated carrot, the fresh sprouts, chopped apple or grapes, and other dark greens such as chickweed or dandelion. This species does not demand live insects, one of the reasons they're considered an “easy” finch, but they should certainly be offered eggfood throughout courtship and breeding. All finches should have access to clean grit, as well as cuttlebone or another source of calcium.
Written by Elaine Radford
My 2 Bronze Mannikins - Speckle and Fluff
I have been rehabilitating injured and baby wild birds since I was a young child, (along with Dad's help back then), they have just always had the nack of finding me. I have rehabilitated quite a few different types of wild birds over the past couple years (I have had more time on my hands being a student, somehow the birds knew that) incuding many doves and pigeons, as well as a Black-eyed Bulbul (released), an African Green Pigeon (unable to be released - wing broken beyond repair), a European Starling (released) and a few more. There are no registered bird rehabilitation places where I live, so I have a vet that I consult with.
At the moment I have two Bronze Mannikins, Speckle and Fluff. I was given the first one, Speckle, as a baby from a friend that found him huddling next to their car tyre. When I saw him for the first time I couldn't believe his size as I have never handled a baby bird so miniature! He (I say 'he' but I don't know the sex - very hard to tell) aslo had a broken wing. I hand-reared him, using a formula I bought from the petshop called AviPlus for baby seed-eating birds until he started eating on his own. He can fly forwards and down but battles to fly upwards due to his broken wing not mending properly. So realising that I could not possibly release him into the wild, I decided to keep him as a pet (they make wonderful pets and are very loving). I have had him since the 27 Nov 2010.
A couple months later (March 2011) I then got Fluff, another baby Bronze Mannikin, given to me by my gran, who was given it by a gentleman from a local music shop who found it in a very busy road, and fearing it would be run over, took it in. I couldn't believe that I had another one! What are the chances! He (again, I don't know the sex) was very cold when he got to me so I had to take extra care to get him properly warmed and hydrated before I could feed him and I was not sure he would make it... A couple hours later he was gobbling up the AviPlus formula! Speckle took a little while to warm up to Fluff but now they are the best of friends (potential mates maybe? we will have to wait and see). He has been eating on his own for a little while now. I honestly cannot help but feel so blessed that I have the opportunity of owning these little blessings. I have decided to keep Fluff as a pet for a couple of reasons, firstly, he follows Speckle everywhere and they have quite a strong bond, if Speckle could fly properly I would consider releasing them both but also need to take into consideration the fact that they are so tame, I cannot guarantee they would survive on their own, even if Speckle could fly properly..
From Donne777 Jun 6 2011 2:44PM