Green Munia

Scientific Name: Amandava Formosa

India is home to eight species of Munias, belonging to the family Estrildidae. These small birds, found in different parts of India, are brightly coloured and have melodious calls, making them highly sought after cage birds, and victims of the pet trade in India. Of these, the green munia is the most distinguished member of this family, with green and yellow colouration, black barred flanks and a reddish bill. Endemic to central India, its population is unevenly distributed across southern Rajasthan, central Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, southern Bihar and West Bengal, southern Maharashtra and Northern Andhra Pradesh. This species is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN redlist of threatened species as their population is rapidly declining due to widespread capture from the wild for the pet trade.
The green munia inhabits dry, boulder-strewn shrub jungles, small patches of grasslands with low bushes, sugarcane fields, and open shrubby forest, generally in lowlands and foothills. It feeds mostly on seeds and insects. They are known to breed between May and January, building globular nests in low thorny bushes or attached to sugarcane leaf. The clutch size is usually 5 to 6 eggs, which are incubated by both male and female for 11 to 18 days. Once hatched, the chicks remain in the nest for 16 to 25 days, and are fed small soft insects. The call of this bird is a distinct high pitched warble, ending with a prolonged trill.

Munias are listed in Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, making hunting, trapping or trade illegal and a punishable offence. The green munia is also protected under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Despite this protection, illegal trade is the biggest threat to this species, and has extirpated several populations across the country. Large numbers of these birds are trapped and illegally traded in both the domestic and export market. TRAFFIC India has been monitoring the illegal trade in green munias, and regularly publishes articles to raise awareness about the plight of this bird, and educate individuals of the serious legal consequences of purchasing these birds as pets.

1. Rahmani, A. R. (2012), Threatened Birds of India—Their Conservation Requirements, Indian Bird Conservation Network, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Birdlife International. Oxford University Press. Pp 555-559.
3. IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. <>. Downloaded on 23 August 2012.
© Abrar Ahmad
Green Munia
© Abrar Ahmad
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