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Common Myna
(Acridotheres tristis)

Common Myna

General description

Sexes are alike and unlikely to be confused with other birds in the region.

The Common Myna is readily identified by the brown body, black hooded head and the bare yellow patch behind the eye. The 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 calls includes croaks, squawks, chirps, clicks, whistles and 'growls', and the bird often fluffs its feathers and bobs its head in singing. The Common Myna screeches warnings to its mate or other birds in cases of predators in proximity or when it is about to take off flying.

Name & classification

Scientific name:
Acridotheres tristis

Common names:
Common Myna (English)
Indiese Spreeu (Afrikaans)

Indian Myna

Roberts VII english name:
Common Myna

Roberts VII scientific name:
Acridotheres tristis

Starlings (Sturnidae)

Further information



Like most starlings, the Common Myna is omnivorous. It feeds on insects, arachnids, crustaceans, reptiles, small mammals, seeds, grain and fruits and discarded waste from human habitation.

It forages on the ground among grass for insects, and especially for grasshoppers.It walks on the ground with occasional hops and is an opportunistic feeder on the insects disturbed by grazing cattle as well as fired grass fields.

Common Mynas have been recorded evicting the chicks from other species' nests and often not even using the emptied nests. This aggressive behaviour contributes to its success as an invasive species.

Common Mynas are 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, often using nests of woodpeckers, parakeets, etc. and easily takes to nest boxes.

Nesting materials include twigs, roots, tow and rubbish. Common Mynas have been known to use tissue paper, tin foil and shed snake-skin.

The normal clutch size is 4 to 6 eggs and the incubation period is 17 to 18 days and fledging period is 22 to 24 days.

Natural distribution:
It is a species of bird native to Asia with its initial 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 and China.

The Common Myna has been introduced in many other parts of the world such as Canada, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Hawaii, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Florida, Uzbekistan and islands in the Indian Ocean (Seychelles, Mauritius, Réunion, Madagascar, Maldives, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep archipelago) and also in islands of the Atlantic, such as Ascension and St Helena, and Pacific Oceans.

An omnivorous open woodland bird with a strong territorial instinct, the Common Myna has adapted extremely well to urban environments.

The range of the Common Myna is increasing to the extent that in 2000 the IUCN Species Survival Commission declared it among the World's 100 worst invasive species.

In South Africa where it escaped into the wild in 1902, it has become very common and its distribution is greater where human populations are greater or where there is more human disturbance.[35] The bird is also notorious for being a pest, kicking other birds out of their nests and killing their young due to the myna's strong territorial instinct.

In South Africa it is considered somewhat of a major pest and disturbance of the natural habitat; as a result, they are frequently shot and killed by people in urban environments and farmers alike. Bylaws in South Africa pertaining to the protection of most animal species specifically exclude mynas from this protection.

Common Mynas are occasionally parasatised by the Great Spotted Cuckoo.

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