Myna Bird Common Myna - Brought to Australia for Pest Control

The common myna is an intelligent and aggressive medium-sized dark brown bird with distinctive yellow eye-patches, beak, legs, and feet.

Introduced into Victoria, Australia, in 1863 to help control insects in market gardens, these birds are fast becoming Australia's number one pest. They compete aggressively for food and nesting hollows with native animals, chasing away competitors, and even throwing other birds' eggs and chicks out of their nests and taking them over. It is now the prevalent bird in most urban areas.

Scientific name: Acridotheres tristis

Myna Bird - Description & Behaviour What the Common Myna Looks Like

The myna (also known as the Indian Myna or Common Myna) is a medium-sized dark brown bird with distinctive yellow eye-patches, beak, legs, and feet. The wing patch, under-tail coverts, and tail tip are white. It is an open woodland bird about 23-26 centimetres in length and weighs about 120-140 grams. Males and females are similar in appearance, but the male is slightly larger and heavier than the female. The myna bird walks with a distinctive strut, rather than hop like most small birds.

Mynas are intellect quick-learning birds. They are known to avoid danger, and screech loud distress calls to warn other birds of threats. Myna sounds include croaks, squawks, chirps, clicks, whistles, and growls. Pet birds can be trained to create human-like sounds and mimic certain words and sounds.

Male and female birds are believed to pair for life, This may be supported by the fact that these birds are usually seen in pairs.

Mynas social birds that form small flocks of 5-6 birds that forage together. Except for nesting pairs, they roost communally with 40–80 birds gathering together to roost. Communal roosts of over a thousand have been reported. Before sleeping in their communal roosts, mynas vocalise, which is known as "communal noise". These loud vocalisations occur at dawn and dusk and occasionally during the night.

Myna - Worldwide Distribution

The Common myna bird is native to Asia (blue colour on map). It was introduced by humans to many other parts of the world. (red on map). The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared the bird among the top '100 of the World's Most Invasive species'.

Myna Bird - Habitat and Distribution Where do Mynas Live?

The myna bird is native to Asia, where its natural habitat is primarily in open woodlands, and more recently, in urban areas. It was also introduced by humans to many other parts of the world, including Australia, resulting in significant local populations in these new environments.

In Australia, the myna's presence is closely associated with human habitation, where the climate is warm to hot. Most often, they are found along the east-coast in urban areas, agricultural lands, savannah, paddocks, plantations, cane-fields, and roadside vegetation. They are non-migratory, remaining sedentary in their established environment, which is not more than a three kilometre radius of their roosting site.

Being well suited to habitats with tall vertical structures and little to no vegetative ground cover mynas have found modern cities ideal new habitats in which to thrive.

Being well suited to habitats with tall vertical structures and little to no vegetative ground cover mynas have found modern cities ideal new habitats in which to thrive.

Myna - Diet What Does a Myna Eat?

Myna birds are opportunistic omnivores and are expert scavengers. That is to say, they are not fussy about their food and eat almost anything edible. They forage in pairs or in small family groups on the ground and eat small inserts, lizards, reptiles, mammals, worms, bird eggs, fledging birds, seeds, grains, fruit, and human food waste. They are often seen along roads, where they seek out road-killed insects.

Myra - Reproduction & Life Cycle Baby Mynas

Myna nests are built in tree hollows or other suitable sites, including inside roofs of buildings. They are constructed of dry twigs, leaves, feathers, and even cellophane and plastic, and lined with green leaves just before egg-laying. Nests usually take a few weeks to build.

During nesting season, squabbles often break out between a nesting pair already occupying a nesting site and those wishing to evict them. Violent confrontations take place where each partner grapples with its opposite in fierce combat—pecking, shrieking, and grasping each other, and wrestling to the ground until the defeated pair finally admit defeat and leave in search of a new nesting site. The victors take over the nest site of the vanquished.

The breeding season in Australia extends from August to March, and depending on the location, mynas may breed 1-3 times a year. Clutch sizes range from 4-6 eggs and are incubated for approximately fourteen days. Both parents incubate and feed the nestlings for 2-3 weeks until the young birds are fully-fledged and ready to take flight, which is 20-32 days after hatching. The infant mortality rate among chicks is high, with up to 25% die before they reach their independence. Birds reach sexual maturity in 9-12 months.

Mynas usually live to about 4 years of age.

Myna - The Pest Why the Myna is an Invasive Pest in Australia?

In the year 2000, the IUCN declared the myna as one of the world's most invasive species and one of only three birds in the top 100 species that had an impact on biodiversity, agriculture, and human interests. In Australia, they are classified as an invasive pest.

Myna - Impacts on Native Animals

The myna being an aggressive hollow-nesting bird, chases less aggressive local birds and small mammals from their traditional nesting hollows. They are even known to throw other birds' eggs and chicks out of nests. It is claimed that these birds also plug up nesting sites they are not using with debris to prevent other animals from using them. The myna's selfish nesting behaviour future reduces biodiversity resulting in these less competitive native animals dying and not being able to raise their young. This has led to a decline in native species such as the Sugar Glider, Cockatoo, Rosella, Kookaburra, and small birds such as the Superb Fairy-Wren.

Myna - Impact of Agriculture

Mynas can cause considerable damage to ripening fruit such as grapes, figs, apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, guava, mangoes, and breadfruit. They can also be detrimental to wheat, rice, and corn crops. Their noise and smell, when they assemble in large numbers, can be annoying to humans.

Myna - Threats & Predators What Kills Myna Birds?

Being an introduced animal and classified as a pest, the myna is not a protected animal in Australia. Cats are the primary predator of mynas in Australia.

About Introduced Animals in Australia