Bronze Mannikin

Spermestes cucullata

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.

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25 thoughts on “Bronze Mannikin

  1. Anne

    Bronze manikins are favourites in our garden – they flutter making the most cheerful sounds. I agree that they are voracious eaters, for the level in my feeder goes down noticeably whenever they come to visit!

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  2. Beth

    We had tornado and flash flood warnings two days ago and I texted my daughter to let her know. She immediately asked, “What happens to the tiny birds–especially the humming birds?”
    Small animals are always vulnerable to storms. Have you ever studied what happens to them or if they have a way to protect themselves?

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      While I haven’t got any facts, figures or studies to back it up, I believe these little ones are hardier than we might imagine, Beth. We get some pretty hectic storms from time to time (though tornadoes are almost unheard of, thankfully!) and hardly ever see any birds that succumbed to the weather.

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