Among the Munia Group, three varieties can be found relatively easily in Santiniketan and its surrounding areas. These birds are smaller than the house sparrow, but rather exquisite in look. Tall grass are their favourite area to loiter around where they like to move around in fairly large groups, the group size can vary from 7-8 to more than 20. For food they usually glean the grass lands for seeds, that also in groups. All these birds discussed here are native to India, with the Black Headed Munia found more in peninsular India.


2.jpgThe Spotted Munia ( Lonchura punculata): Among the other varieties of Munia only the spotted or ‘Teli Munia’ (as called in Bengali) appears to be both domesticated and wild. These muniyas can be found nesting even in areas congested by human beings, and do not mind a suitable nesting place atop electric posts.

3.jpgLike most other birds Munias can be quite fastidious about their looks and often goes for the famous cleansing act taking considerable time off from the daily chore. Watching these birds can be extremely interesting because as they move in groups they also behave with each other just as humans do in a society, and can often go for a group adda or a nice chat between the two.


5.jpgThe White-Throated Munia (Lonchura malabarica): Compared to Spotted Munias as discussed above, though the White Throated Munias, called ‘Sar Munia’ in Bengali, are also not averse to human company, but they have yet not become city or town centric like the spotted or teli munias. White Throated Muniyas can be found invading the thatched roofed houses in the villages, but they cannot be found atop electric posts within the town area. Consequently to find the White Throated Munias I had to move slightly off from Santiniketan and there they were in plenty.



8.jpgThe Tricoloured Munia (Lonchura malacca): Interestingly the black-headed munia is called ‘Shyam Sundar’ in Bengali. I was naturally quite impressed by such a beautiful name, and also by their looks. These brands of munias somehow prefer to shun humans and hence can only be found in open fields. The best time to spot them is after the rains, in autumn, when grass is aplenty and large tract of tall grass is also available . These birds are so lightweight that they can cling to the blade of a tall grass and literally enjoy the swings provided by the gently blowing wind. On a few occasions I just sat down near the groups of Shyam Sundars watching them swing merrily along the tall grass blades. Birds most certainly know how to enjoy life, they like to take elaborate baths and most interestingly they keep aside a fair amount of leisure time for a luxury of nonsenses to indulge in. This batch of Tricoloured Munias (snap below) finding me nearby got over hyped in cleansing themselves up – a kind of eye-catching technique applied by quite a few birds to draw attention to themselves! Well, in any case, in one early autumn morning, I was enjoying paying attention to these tiny darlings!




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  1. Anonymous says:

    Your interest in nature makes you a true ashramik! Kudos to your environmentalist efforts

  2. Tapas Basu says:

    Excellent Images & very interesting article indeed. I congratulate the author…..

  3. Kyle Fabozzi says:

    I think the feather theme would be cool for your blog: What do you think?

  4. Pradyot Bhanja says:

    Aare Bhaiya,
    shob-cheye sundor, shob-cheye “shurela”
    shei Lal-Muniya-ta galo kothay?
    Tara ki aar edike ashchhena ?
    ………………….Ektu bhalo koray khor niye sheta janabe……
    ………… PLEASE !!

  5. Amit Basu says:

    pakhi ebong projapati – dui-i durdanto!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    পাখী ও প্রজাপতি, সম্পর্ক খাদ্য খাদকের। তাদের নিয়ে আমাদের শান্তিনিকেতনকে কেমন ফুলে ফুলে পাতায় পাতায় সাজিয়ে তোলে আপনমনে, আমাদের সুকুল ! শুধু প্রকৃতি কেন, ঘর দোর, উৎসব, মানুষ-জন কিছুই বাদ যায় না। তার এই প্রচেষ্টা চলেছে বহুদিন ধরে। শান্তিনিকেতনকে তার এই ভালবাসার পুরস্কার ‘প্রতিষ্ঠান’ কোন দিন দিতে পারবে কিনা জানি না। প্রাক্তনীদের হৃদয়ে কিন্তু তার জন্য সোনার আসন থাকবে নিরন্তর।

    • Shubhashis says:

      Dear Anonymous,
      Sometimes it is great to work without an institution (Protishtan) behind you! I am actually enjoying.
      I am still not too comfortable with any project backed by an institution; but time has perhaps come to explore that too. Lets see if we can chalk out anything meanigful and permanent in nature with Visva Bharathi, the behemoth in this area. All your best wishes will be highly needed.

  7. Samiran Nandy says:

    Superb images and excellent observation.

  8. Indrajit Maitra says:

    আমি বার বার বলে থাকি, সুকুলের এ্যালবাম, শান্তিনিকেতনের প্রকৃ্তি, স্থাপত্য, মানুষ-জন, উৎসব, আভরণ, কিছুই বাদ যায় না। এই বিশাল ডকুমেন্টেসন্ ভবিষ্যতের জন্য গ্রন্থাকারে প্রকাশ করা দরকার। এর চেষ্টা কি করা যায় না?

    • Shubhashis says:

      Let the compilation grow, and let your novel conclude, we shall certainly give the idea a thought. Actually It would have been better if others wrote too, the compilation could have been wider with varied perspectives. But, I could not convince anyone (except you of course, then you actually volunteered) to write for the site. Many people perhaps still think it is a worthless activity; but personally I know some kind of documentation is going on. I shall keep the effort going as long as I can, say another 10 years (if alive!), it can then turn out to be a massive venture. I would have liked ex-students to be more interested in contributing, articles, thoughts in fact anything the fancied.
      Boltu, Prosit Mukherjee, from Delhi is silently working on the site, in spite of being extremely busy. I hope it is a good venture to pursue in the long run.

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