I think Bill Pranty is right about the bird being banded. I played with
the photo a bit (magnifying, sharping, etc), and I'm about 98% convinced
that it is a band.
I looked closely at the illustrations in Clement, Harris, and Davis's
"Finches and Sparrows" (Helm/Princeton), which covers all of the Estrildid
finches, and has illustrations of the juveniles. I also read some of the
text that further describes additional subspecies.
As Kurt noted, Lonchura punctulata (Nutmeg Mannikin, Spotted Munia) is out
because a juvenile would have black on the bill.
Jill's suggestion of Lonchura striata (Striated Munia, White-rumped
Munia) fails due to the breast being much too light (as well as likely
absence of white on the rump, and the bill color is wrong).
The closest illustrations seemed to be juv. Lonchura malacca (now
officially Tricolored Munia) or L. atricapilla (Chestnut Munia). These
have recently been split, and are also called Black-headed Munia,
Tricolored Nun, and others. However, the undertail coverts on the Eco
bird are too dark, when they should be white.
Clement et.al. contains the further piece of information that juveniles
are already in adult plumage within 3 months of fledging.
It could be a plumage that Clement et.al. don't illustrate, but the text
doesn't support this, and I have a suspicion that this is NOT a juvenile,
and that it IS a hybrid.
BTW. I found the following nearby Lonchura sightings on the web version
of the FOS Field Observations Reports:
Black-capped Mannikin (Lonchura atri capillus): 1 male and 1 female
at Flamingo, Everglades National Park 28 Dec 1997 (M. Manetz).
Nutmeg Mannikin: several have been pres ent at Homestead for "about 2
years,"; and on 12 May 1997, 4 adults and 1 juvenile "still being fed"
were observed, suggesting local breeding (P. W. and S. Smith).
Nutmeg Mannikin: 8 at West Kendall 13 Nov 1999 (J. Boyd).
I've also heard that several were seen last spring in W. Kendall about 1.5
miles W of my sighting.
John H. Boyd III [log in to unmask]
Dept. of Economics Phone: 305-348-3287
Florida International University Fax: 305-348-1524
Miami, FL 33199 http://ecojb.fiu.edu/
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