Scientific Name: Euodice malabarica
Name: Indian Silverbill
Dullbrown above, with white rump; very dark, almost black wings; pointed tail; pale buffy-white below, with some brown on flanks; thick, grey-blue or slaty beak striking. Gregarious; mostly keeps to scrub in open country; feeds on ground and on standing crops, especially millet; overall a rather ‘dull’ bird, both in colour and demeanour.
Size in cm:
Size in Inch
white (Bird may have more colors)
Grass seeds, also seeds of sedges (Cyperaceae), rice and cultivated millet when available; also small insects, and flower nectar
Habit and habited:
It frequents dry open scrub, fallow land and cultivation, sometimes near water. Although mainly found on the plains.
Contact call is a tchrip! or tchreep! ; flight call is a repeated chir-rup!. Song is a series of short, abrupt trills.
The Indian silverbill or white-throated munia (Euodice malabarica) is a small passerine bird found in the Indian Subcontinent and adjoining regions that was formerly considered to include the closely related African silverbill (Euodice cantans). This estrildid finch is a common resident breeding bird in the drier regions of the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. It has also been introduced into many other parts of the world and has become established in some areas. They forage in small flocks in grassland and scrub habitats.
The adult Indian silverbill is 11–11.5 cm long and has a conical silver-grey bill, buff-brown upperparts, white underparts, buffy flanks and dark wings. The tail is black and the wings are dark contrasting with a white rump. The sexes are similar, but immatures have buff underparts and a shorter tail. The tail appears pointed as the length of the feathers reduces from the centre outwards. It feeds mainly on seeds, but also takes insects and has been known to visit nectar bearing flowers, such as those of Erythrina trees.
This munia was described as Loxia malabarica by Linnaeus who placed it along with the crossbills. Subsequently, they were included in the genera Uroloncha and Aidemosyne and later in the genus Lonchura into which many of the estrildid finches were included by Jean Delacour in his 1943 revision. The species earlier included Lonchura cantans, the African silverbill, which is found in the dry savannah habitats south of the Sahara Desert. In captivity the African birds were found to preferentially pair with mates within their own populations and did not recognize the Indian populations as conspecific. They are however known to produce fertile hybrids.
It frequents dry open scrub, fallow land and cultivation, sometimes near water. Although mainly found on the plains, they can be found up to about 1200 m in some sub-Himalayan regions. It occurs in Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Iran and Israel. It has been accidentally introduced into many other parts of the world and has established itself in Jordan, Israel, Kuwait, Oman, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United States, Virgin Islands (possibly extinct) and Nice (southern France).
Although largely sedentary, some populations make seasonal movements.