Observations on the foraging behavior of Tricoloured Munia Lonchura malacca (Linnaeus, 1766) and its interaction with pearl millet fields in Villupuram District, Tamil Nadu, India

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M. Pandian


Study of foraging behaviour of Tricoloured Munia Lonchura malacca and its interaction in pearl millet crop fields was conducted in six villages of Tindivanam taluk, Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu from April to June 2020. A total of six flocks containing 1,640 birds of Tricoloured Munia were enumerated. The number of birds per flock varied from 60 to 800. They never split into small flocks and maintained the same flock size throughout the day. Tricoloured Munias used nine plant species for roosting. Twelve quadrats (0.3 ha) each of 5 m x 5 m size were laid in the pearl millet fields covering six villages. A total of 10,295 spikes were counted in these plots, and of these 3,785 spikes (36.7%) were found damaged by foraging munias. The maximum damage of 99.6% was observed in Thenputhur village. Along with Tricoloured Munia, five other granivorous birds, such as Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus, Indian Silverbill Euodice malabarica, Common Babbler Turdoides caudata, Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri, and White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata were also found foraging without any inter-specific competition. Farmers adopted various traditional bird repellent techniques such as beating utensils, throwing pebbles/soil on the crop, placing scarecrows, tying multi-coloured ribbons, and hanging bottles to chase the birds away.

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