Indian Silverbill (Euodice malabarica)

Indian Silverbill


The Indian silverbill or white-throated munia (Euodice malabarica) is a small passerine bird found in the Indian Subcontinent and adjoining regions that was formerly considered to include the closely related African silverbill (Euodice cantans). This estrildid finch is a common resident breeding bird in the drier regions of the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. It has also been introduced into many other parts of the world and has become established in some areas. They forage in small flocks in grassland and scrub habitats.

Distribution And Habitat

The Indian Silverbill is native to India, Sri Lanka, the Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, and Nepal (Restall 1997). It is a popular cage bird that has been introduced into many countries and is established as a breeding nonnative species in Jamaica, the Virgin Islands (St. Croix), and Puerto Rico (Camacho Rodríguez and others 1999, Raffaele and others 1998). The species was first recorded in Puerto Rico in 1971 (Raffaele and Kepler 1992) and has been described as locally common in the coastal regions, particularly along the southwestern coast, as well as in the metropolitan area of San Juan, occurring locally west to Dorado (Raffaele and others 1998). The species usually occurs in scrub and bushy areas around human habitation, and in Puerto Rico it occurs in arid pastures and gardens where grass is in seed (Raffaele 1983). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 42 records within 32 hexagons or 7 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 32 hexagons where this species was found, breeding was confirmed in 31 percent (10) of the hexagons, probable in 41 percent (13), and possible in 25 percent (8), while the species was observed in 3 percent (1) of the hexagons but without evidence of breeding (see map).Indian Silverbill distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 245Indian Silverbill/Gorrión Picoplata

Indian Silverbill Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Indian Silverbill builds a domed grass nest with a side entrance, usually in trees or on window ledges (Raffaele and others 1998). Previously published reports indicate that it breeds primarily from June to November but also in other months (Raffaele and others 1998). Atlas results indicate that this species breeding season extends throughout the year with the most breeding activity during June, although no data were available for February (see chart). Though breeding mostly occurs in the subtropical dry forest life zone, results show that some breeding activity occurs in the subtropical moist forest life zone during March and June (see chart). Results show that this species breeds mostly along the southern coast within the subtropical dry forest life zone (81 percent of the hexagons) (see map and table). It also breeds within the subtropical moist forest life zone in the coastal plain (19 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The global population size for the Indian Silverbill has not been assessed, but it is described as common or locally common (Clement 1999). This species is currently listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2016). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Indian Silverbill has a protected habitat in land of about 9 percent or 65 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (743 km2).