The Munias, Mannikins and Silverbills are small passerine birds in the genus Lonchura of the estrildid finch family. They are resident breeding birds in Africa, South Asia from India and Sri Lanka east to the Indonesia and the Philippines.
Some of the Lonchura species were formerly placed in Spermestes.
They are small gregarious birds which feed mainly on seeds, usually in relatively open habitats, preferring to feed on the ground or on reeds and grasses. The nest is a large domed grass structure into which 4-10 white eggs are laid. Some species also build communal roosting nests for overnight rest.
The species in this genus are similar in size and structure, with stubby bills, stocky bodies and long tails. Most are 10-12 cm in length. Plumage is usually a combination of browns, black and white, with the sexes similar, but duller and less contrasted for immature birds.
The similarities within this group and the existence of subspecies with differing vocalisations and plumage mean that some races may be elevated to species status. African and Indian Silverbill are now usually considered distinct species, and the two races of Black-throated Munia are often also split.