With an adult weight of just 10g, the Bronze Mannikin is one of the smallest birds occurring in South Africa. These diminutive seed-eaters’ preferred habitat is grassy areas in moist woodlands, riverine thickets and on forest edges, and they have adapted well to planted suburbia, even expanding their range as a result. They are very dependent on an easily accessible supply of fresh drinking water.
A highly gregarious species, Bronze Mannikins breed through most of the year, excluding mid-winter, reaching a peak in summer. Both sexes co-operate to build the nest, the male bringing the grass to the female who puts together an untidy, ball-shaped structure in a bush or tree, or occasionally on buildings. Two to eight eggs are laid and incubated for about 2 weeks by both parents. The chicks are reared by both the male and female and become independent at 6 weeks of age. They frequently nest in suburban gardens. Outside of the breeding seasons small groups sleep together in larger nests built communally for the purpose.
Bronze Mannikins are common throughout their range, which extends over much of Sub-Saharan Africa, and is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. In South Africa they are abundant in Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Kwazulu Natal, from there extending south-westwards along the coast as far as Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.