Common Myna

Common Myna

Indian myna

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Acridotheres tristis
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
4-12 yrs
TOP SPEED
30 km/h
WEIGHT
109-138 g
LENGTH
23 cm
WINGSPAN
120-142 mm

The Common myna is a tropical bird with a strong territorial instinct, which has adapted extremely well to urban environments. This bird is readily identified by the brown body, black hooded head and the bare yellow patch behind the eye. Its bill and legs are bright yellow. There is a white patch on the outer primaries and the wing lining on the underside is white. The male and female look similar and are usually seen in pairs.

Distribution

Common mynas are native to Asia with their home range spanning from Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka; as well as Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Myanmar, to Malaysia, Singapore, peninsular Thailand, Indo-China, Japan (both mainland Japan and Ryukyu Islands) and China. These birds are typically found in a wide range of habitats with access to water; they inhabit open woodland, mangroves, grasslands, farmlands, orchards and urban areas.

Common Myna habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Common mynas are social birds that roost communally throughout the year, either in pure or mixed flocks with jungle mynas, rosy starlings, house crows, jungle crows, cattle egrets, and other birds. These roosts can contain less than one hundred and up to thousands of birds. Birds start to gather in roosts before the sunset and depart before sunrise. Mynas often perform communal displays (pre-roosting and post-roosting) which consist of aerial maneuvers and are exhibited in the pre-breeding season (November to March). It is assumed that this behavior is related to pair formation. During the day, Common mynas spend most of their time foraging and may travel up to 10 km between their roosting and feeding sites each day. They feed on the ground walking with occasional hops among grass looking for insects, and especially for grasshoppers. When mynas need to communicate with each other, they use croaks, squawks, chirps, clicks, whistles, and 'growls'; they also often fluff their feathers and bob their head in singing. They also screech warnings to their mate or other birds in cases of predators in proximity or when they are about to take off flying. Before sleeping in communal roosts, mynas vocalize in unison, which is known as "communal noise".

Group name
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Common mynas are omnivorous birds that eat insects, arachnids, crustaceans, reptiles, small mammals, seeds, grain, and fruits. They will also feed on discarded waste from human habitation.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
INCUBATION PERIOD
17-18 days
INDEPENDENT AGE
6-6.5 weeks
BABY NAME
chick
BABY CARRYING
4-6 eggs

Common mynas are monogamous and believed to pair for life. They breed through much of the year depending on the location, building their nest in a hole in a tree or wall. Nesting material used in nest construction includes twigs, roots, tow, and rubbish. During the breeding, season mynas become highly territorial, and neighboring pairs often fight furiously. The normal clutch size is 4-6 eggs which are incubated by the female within 17-18 days. The chicks are altricial; they are born helpless, with reddish bodies and blind. The young usually fledge at 22 to 24 days of age and become independent 3 weeks later.

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats facing the Common myna at present.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Common myna total population size. According to the IUCN Red List, there are 10,000-100,000 introduced breeding pairs in Taiwan and 100-10,000 introduced breeding pairs in Japan. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List, and its numbers today are increasing.

Ecological niche

Due to their habit of consuming fruits, Common mynas disperse seeds of various plants and trees across their ecosystem. These birds are also important pollinators of flowers.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The range of the Common myna is increasing at such a rapid rate that in 2000 this species was declared as one of the world's most invasive species and one of only three birds in the top 100 species that pose an impact on biodiversity, agriculture and human interests.
  • Common mynas are regarded as a pest in South Africa, North America, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, and many Pacific islands. They pose a serious threat to native birds as well as to crops and pastures.
  • In particular, Common mynas pose a serious threat to the ecosystems of Australia where they were named "The Most Important Pest/Problem"; these birds also earned the nickname "flying rats" due to their scavenging resembling that of rats. They are also known as "the cane toad of the sky".
  • In Sanskrit literature (Indic language), the Common myna has a number of names, most are descriptive of the appearance or behavior of the bird. In addition to 'saarika', the names for the Common myna include 'kalahapriya', which means "one who is fond of arguments" referring to the quarrelsome nature of this bird; 'chitranetra', meaning "picturesque eyes"; 'peetanetra' (one with yellow eyes) and 'peetapaad' (one with yellow legs).
  • When mynas construct their nest, they may sometimes use tissue paper, tin foil, and even snake-skin.
  • Common mynas are popular as cage birds for their singing and "speaking" abilities.
  • Common mynas are fond of grasshoppers and due to this they got the generic name Acridotheres, "grasshopper hunter".

References

1. Common Myna on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_myna
2. Common Myna on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22710921/111063735

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