The Magpie Mannikin (Lonchura fringilloides) is an estrildid finch from Africa. In the wild, they are generally found in the bamboo thickets, bushes and grassland with scrub. In my opinion, they’ve been unjustly overlooked as an aviary bird. Although perhaps not the most beautiful of the Munias, they are a sturdy bird and easy to keep. Others have reported that their Magpie Mannikins are bullies, but my pair have been generally peaceful with other finches.
The adult Magpie Mannikin is predominantly a black and white bird. It has a thick, heavy black bill. The head and tail are black while the breast and under parts are white or cream. The wings and back are a dark brown. On the flanks is a pretty black and brown barring. On the juvenile bird, the colors are more subdued. It’s generally a buff brown overall with a tan breast. Determining the sex of the bird can be difficult. The female is the same color as the male but a bit smaller.
They greatly enjoy bathing. With each water change, they are one of the first to hop in and splash around. This is generally several times a day.