Java sparrow

Padda oryzivora

SUBFAMILY

Lonchurinae

TAXONOMY

Loxia oryzivora Linnaeus, 1758. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Ricebird, Java temple bird, Java finch, rice munia, paddy bird; French: Padda de Java; German: Reisfink; Spanish: Gorrion de Java.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5.1-6.7 in (13-17 cm). Sexes alike. Upperparts are gray, the head and tail are black, the underparts are rosy, the cheeks are white, and the bill is bright pink to red. Young and immature Javas are dull brown and gray, with bill darker than that of adults.

DISTRIBUTION

Found naturally only on the island of Java. Introduced in many areas throughout the world including numerous south Pacific islands, southeast Asia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Florida.

HABITAT

Found in open woodland, grassland and savanna, but more common in cultivated and inhabited areas.

BEHAVIOR

Occurs in pairs or in small flocks, although large flocks usually gather in rice fields. The call is a "tchuk" while the song is a mixture of "diks," "tchuks," "wees," and clicks.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds in vegetation or on the ground on a variety of seeds, fruits, and small insects.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nest is built in tree holes or crevices in buildings. It is roundish in shape and composed of grass stems. Four to six white eggs are incubated for 13-14 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

CITES: Appendix II. IUCN considers this species Vulnerable. Causes of population decline in the native range include trapping of live birds for the pet trade, hunting for sport and food, and raiding of eggs from the nest to decrease their numbers and therefore their depredation of rice crops.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

This species has long been kept in aviculture where it has been domesticated and where several color mutations have been developed. On its native island of Java, it is hunted for human consumption and persecuted for its impact on rice crops. ♦

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