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Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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The popularity of this finch as a cage-bird has resulted in intense trapping activity, which is inferred to be causing rapid declines in the population. Unless stringent regulations are enforced, these declines are likely to continue, and as such it is listed as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Lonchura oryzivora SACC (2005), Lonchura oryzivora Dowsett and Forbes-Watson (1993), Lonchura oryzivora Christidis and Boles (2008), Lonchura oryzivora Christidis and Boles (1994)

14-15 cm. Contrastingly patterned, open-country finch. Pearl-grey, becoming pinkish on belly and whitish towards vent, with a black head and conspicuous white cheeks. Black rump and tail. Massive pink bill. Voice Song begins with bell-like single notes, accelerating into a continuous trilling and clucking interspersed with high-pitched and deeper notes, sometimes ending with a drawn-out whistle. Also short, hard tup, chirrups and trills.

Distribution and population
Padda oryzivora is a native endemic of the islands of Java, Bali, and probably Madura, Indonesia, although it has been widely introduced, with feral populations now established in many parts of the world. It was formerly widespread and abundant in its native range, but numbers have crashed disastrously. It can now be difficult to find, particularly on Java (N. Brickle in litt. 2012); a recent survey looked at 64 former locations and located only 109 individuals at 17 sites (Muchtar and Nurwatha 2001). The majority of documented recent records derive from east Java and Bali. Feral populations (in Indonesia at least) have also apparently declined precipitously. Information from elsewhere is insufficient to estimate its status as a feral species, and all conservation efforts should focus on its original native range.

Population justification
The global population is estimated to number c.2,500-9,999 individuals (Population estimate derived from analysis of recent records and surveys detailed in BirdLife International 2001). This estimate equates to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals. National population estimates include: c.100-10,000 introduced breeding pairs in China; < c.100 introduced breeding pairs in Taiwan and < c.10,000 introduced breeding pairs in Japan (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
A rapid and on-going population decline is inferred on the basis of trapping pressure for the international cage-bird trade.

It is usually a lowland species, chiefly found below 500 m but occurring locally up to 1,500 m. It has been recorded in many habitats, including towns and villages (where it was formerly one of the most common species), cultivated land (particularly rice-growing areas), grassland, open woodland, tree savanna, beach forest and even mangroves. It is gregarious, especially outside the breeding season. Post-breeding flocks appear to make substantial short-distance movements in response to local food supplies.

Trapping for the domestic and international cage-bird trade has probably been occurring for centuries, peaking in the 1960s and 1970s, and is the main cause of the decline. Its flocking tendency, particularly at roost sites, renders it especially susceptible to mass trapping. Ironically, even feral populations, originally introduced through trade, have subsequently been decimated for the same reason. Historically, it was regarded as a rice crop-pest, and consequently persecuted. Hunting for local consumption, possibly increased use of pesticides, and competition with the ecologically similar Tree Sparrow Passer montanus, are additional threats.

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. An embargo was placed on the capture quota for Java and Bali in 1995.  The species is bred widely in captivity but is heavily trapped, almost to extinction within the natural range.  It occurs in only a very few protected areas, with recent records from only four: Cikepuh Wildlife Reserve, Baluran and Meru Betiri National Parks on Java, and Bali Barat National Park on Bali.Conservation Actions Proposed
Investigate the relative importance of current threats (excessive trade, persecution, pesticides, competition). Promote strict enforcement of trade restrictions in wild birds, and devise means of meeting market demands from captive breeding. Develop and initiate programmes to protect remaining populations.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

Muchtar, M.; Nurwatha, P. F. 2001. Gelatik Jawa dan Jalak Putih: status dan upaya konservasi di Jawa dan Bali [Java Sparrow & Black-winged Starling: status and conservation effort in Java and Bali].

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Khwaja, N., Taylor, J.

Brickle, N.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Padda oryzivora. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Java sparrow (Padda oryzivora) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Estrildidae (Waxbills, grass finches, munias and allies)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 99,600 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species