Re: mannikins

To: William Smithson <>
Subject: Re: mannikins
From: David James <>
Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 12:36:48 +1000
>At 06:47 12/05/98 -0700, Scott wrote:
>>Hi.  Does anyone have any current information on introduced Nutmeg
>>Mannikins (Lonchura punctulata), especially breeding biology info?
>>These birds, along with Orange Bishops (Euplectes franciscanus), are
>>making headway in southern California, and I'm studying their habitat
>>use and breeding success here.  Any information you might have regarding
>>breeding of Nutmegs or their possible competition with Chestnut-
>>breasted Mannikins would be much appreciated.
>>    Thanks,  Scott Smithson
>Peter Wrote
Dear Scott,
>I've no info on breeding biology.  There was concern that the Nutmeg would
>displace small native seedeaters but in south-east Queesnland, at least,
>there is no indication of that.  The results of surveys in the 1970-80's
>indicate that the Nutmeg, and the introduced European Goldfinch
>were among the rarest small seedeaters and I don't think that the 
>situation has changed much since then.  The House Sparrow is another matter
>Dr Peter Woodall                        

Nutmeg Manikin is the most common finch in disturbed areas and agricultural
lands around Townsville (introduced in 1940s'). It apparently is not common
very far west. It is common in the extensive sugar cane districts north and
south of Townsville. Storr (1984) stated that the double-barred Finch
Poephila b. bichenovii is "yielding ground to the introduced Nutmeg
Mannikin". I do not the basis of this statement. The species which have
most obviously declined in  the present range of Nutmeg Manikin are
Black-throated Finch and Crimson Finch. However, I know of no causal link
established here. The person with a finger on the pulse is David Mitchell
who studied the Vulnerable Black-throated Finch near Townsville for a PhD.
I will forward his address in Virginia, US.  

Nutmeg Manikin seems strongly associated with exotic grasses (casual
observations) which in turn it may spread. This may be of considerable
environmental concern; invasive grasses are a major ecological disaster in
Queensland, converting wetland to pasture with alarming speed. However, I
do not know how effective finches are in spreading grasses. 
David James
PO BOX 5225
Townsville Mail Centre 4810

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