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Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

About 4 to 4 ¼ inches (10-11 cm – the size of a Spice Finch but somewhat heavier in build). Weight – 17 grams. Tail bluntly wedge-shaped (when spread) with the central feathers pointed and somewhat elongated. Face, including lores and stripe over eye, blackish brown with pale brownish shafts to the feathers. Throat brownish black with paler feather shafts only noticeable on close inspection. Forehead, crown and nape a silvery brownish grey with darker feather centres giving a spotted effect. Mantle, back, wing coverts and fringes of the otherwise drab wing quills, warm reddish brown with indistinct greyish subterminal bands on back and mantle feathers. Lower rump and the long upper tail coverts pale golden. Tail feathers drab brown, fringed pale golden. Breast pale chestnut or deep café au lait colour, bordered at lower edge and sides with black. Lower breast and belly white. Flanks barred black and white but more or less suffused with pale chestnut. Lower flanks, tibial feathers and under tail coverts black. Irides brown. Bill pale to medium bluish grey. Legs and feet bluish grey, purplish grey, leaden grey or blackish.

Females are usually a little duller than the male, with a paler chestnut breast and less pronounced black band dividing the chestnut and white areas of the underparts. There is, however, a great deal of individual variation and differences due to degree of wear and bleaching, in worn plumage the greys on the head and back look very pale

Juveniles are a brownish-grey, being more olive brown on the back and flights. The sides of the face and cheeks are lightly streaked with off-white. The throat is greyish, and the chest a bullish brown. The brown breast bar is somewhat evident although very lightly marked.

Eggs: A normal clutch is 4 to 6 white eggs, each approximately 12mm x 17mm, exceptionally 3, 7 or 8 eggs. Incubation period is 12 to 13 days. Incubation is shared by both the cock and hen, and both birds remain on the nest at night. The parent birds cease to brood the chicks when they are approximately a week old, especially if the weather is warm at the time or they are housed in a warm bird room. The young fledge at about 21 days. Young in captivity return to the nest to roost for some nights after fledging.

Diet standard finch mix, and a bowl of clean water. Every day they are given either soaked (sprouted) seed and/or egg food Spray millet is provided 2 or 3 times a week, and they also receive mealworms and/or wax worms once a week, unless they are feeding babies, when they receive mealworms and/or wax worms daily.

They are usually good parents, and a typical clutch will consist of four to six eggs, and incubation is 13 to 16 days. They will leave the nest about 3 weeks later, and the parents will continue to feed them for another three weeks. Adult plumage is obtained three to six months later.

chestnut breasted