Introduction to Myna

Do you want to have a bird at your place that can chat and make your home a lively place? If so then mynah bird is the one you would want to get home. The mynah bird is found in abundance in India, Africa, and parts of Southeast Asia and they are known for their outgoing and friendly disposition along with their ability to mimic all kinds of sounds. Bird enthusiasts find myna delightful as it is an intelligent and chatty bird and they consider it almost close to gray parrots who is the best avian mimic of human speech.

The word mynah has origins in the Hindi word “maina” and Sanskrit “madana” which denotes a “fun-loving and delightful” being. The Indian literature describes the mynah bird in several different ways like kalapriya (one who loves to fight and argue),  peeta netra (one whose eyes are yellow), chitranetra (picturesque eyes), and peeta pad (one who has yellow legs). 

These social birds can be quite easily tamed when they are very young and need a larger than usual cage since they are highly active birds. They love to hop around and eat huge amounts of moist food. A mynah is a messy bird and their droppings are frequently loose (even projectile) which renders them not so desirable as a pet bird. 

These gregarious birds are largely black or brown in color and distinguished by white patches on wings, yellow legs, and yellow bill. Mynahs tend to get aggressive and drive away other birds. They can be found in almost all kinds of places except for dense forests. Apart from India and Africa, these birds have also been widely introduced in New Zealand, Australia, and Hawaii. They often move around in noisy flocks.

Few things that mynah birds love are cuddling in a nest box or a paper bag and daily baths which create a huge wet mess due to their enthusiasm. We can gather quick information on this black myna bird by taking a look at the table below:


Classification of Mynah


Scientific name

Gracula religiosa (hill mynah), Acridotheres tristis (common mynah)

Common names

Mynah bird, mina bird, myna bird, common mynah, hill mynah, maina bird, Indian mynah

Origin

India, Africa, Southeast Asia

Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Chordata

Class

Aves

Order

Passeriformes

Family

Sturnidae

Genus

Acridotheres

Species

A. t. Tristis (Indian myna), A. t. Melanosterna (Srilankan myna)

The body length of an adult

12 to 18 inches

Average body weight

Male - 109 grams

Female - 120 to 138 grams

Life expectancy

12 to 25 years

Legs

2

Sexual maturity

2 to 3 years

Brood size

It takes 14 to 15 days for 2 to 5 eggs to hatch. 

Featured bird groups

Bird behaving badly, top 40 bird songs, introduced birds, survey species


This article will acquaint you with many facts about the mynah bird, its colors, personal traits, and other information.


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What is Mynah?

Mynah is a bird that belongs to any of the Asian startling families, especially those that belong to the genus Gracula, Strenes, and Acridotheres. The bird is characterized by dark brown color, a slightly crested formation having a white tail tip and white markings on the wings. Its feet and bill are yellow in color. These birds are mentioned in many royal texts and folktales along with pigeons and parrots. In the olden days, mynahs used to adorn imperial courts and were a means of entertainment for rich families. 


Physical Features And Other Interesting Facts About a Mynah

A mynah bird comes in different colors but the most common mynah has a blackish-brown body with a distinctive yellowish-orange beak, legs, and feet. They have a medium size and a strong body. They possess a black hooded head with a yellow patch behind their eyes. The outer portion of their wings has a black outline and the bottom portion of their wings are also white in color (which can be seen when the bird is in flight).

  • They mate for life and it is uncommon to see single mynah birds. They mostly move around in pairs.

  • The rare white mynah or Bali mynah is a critically endangered species and it has a white body with black tips on its tails and wings. The area around the eyes of a white mynah is blue in color.

  • Both sexes of a mynah bird are monomorphic i.e. they look the same. There is no conspicuous way to tell a male and female apart from each other. You can do so only by genetic testing or by seeing which mynah lays eggs. 

  • The only minute difference between the two sexes of a mynah is that the males have a bolder stance and slightly longer skin flaps around their necks.

  • They are an extremely active breed and like to hop around. To keep them in a cage, you must have a really big cage which should have a minimum of 4 feet of width, 2 feet height, and 2 feet depth. There should be several perches inside the cage which are set at different heights having different textures, diameters, and widths. It is best to use natural perches for the cage.

  • Young mynahs leave their nest within 4 weeks of being born.

  • A mature mynah bird has glossy black skin with yellow wattles or lappets which are featherless skin areas on the sides of the head and back. An immature myna has plumage skin (not glossy) and the wattles are smaller in size.

  • It is challenging to have mynah birds breed in captivity.

  • Mynahs like to roost communally in gutters and drainage pipes of buildings. 

  • Mynah birds are omnivorous and feed on small reptiles,  spiders, fruit, seeds, insects, kitchen scraps, and other things that they scavenge from the human world.

  • One can confuse common mynah with Manorina melanocephala or noisy miner which is a slightly larger bird having a length between 24 to 29 cm. Both the species have similar common names but the noisy minor is essentially a honeyeater. Noisy miner is mostly gray in color while the common or Indian mynah is brown to black in color.

  • The most common variety of mynah birds are the Lesser Indian Hill mynah, Greater Indian Hill mynah, and Java Hill mynah. Few related species are the starlings, pagoda mynah, and Bali (or Rothschild's grackle) mynah.

  • Mynah was deemed as an aristocratic pet in ancient Greek.


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Different Types of Mynahs

There are 3 distinct varieties of mynah birds. Two of them are kept as pets which are the common mynah and the hill mynah. The third one is a rare species of white mynahs also called the Bali mynah.

  • Hill mynah variety is owned by most western pet owners. It is the type of mynah that can speak like a human.

  • Common mynah is one of the most invasive species in the world and is considered a pest. This type of mynah was introduced in non-native parts of the world to eat insects and curb them. Common mynah emerged as a great bug killer but its territorial nature pushed other native birds away and depleted their food supply.

  • Bali mynah is an endangered species and there are less than 100 Bali mynahs in the world at present.

  • Mynah's favorite locations or habitat are the ceilings and walls of a building. 


Indian Myna Bird Facts

Apart from the common features exhibited by mynahs, there are some unique characteristics associated with an Indian myna. Since myna birds like to mate all through their lifespan, in India they symbolize eternal and undying love between a couple. In India, maina is also used as a word of endearment. Here are few other Indian Myna Bird Facts that distinguishes it from its other counterparts:

  • Indian myna is peaceful and gregarious most of the time except for breeding season. During the breeding season, Indian maina aggressively takes over trees and other breeding areas. They could even expel or kill other species in the act of getting the space for their young. In their aggressive and diligent quest for a perfect nest for their infants, an Indian mynah is known to expel even large possums or small gliders.

  • Indian mynas even plug up sites they are not using and compete with native fauna for habitat and food.

  • An Indian mynah bird on average lives up to 4 years in the wild though at times they reach the age of 12 years too.

  • They are an economic problem since they eat up crops and grains and spoil them. They are also a nuisance due to the loud noise they make and their smell.

  • Indian mynas have the potential to spread diseases amongst humans and domestic animals. They are known to spread mites.

  • They are quite fearless of humans and they can steal food from people if they are eating in an outdoor setting.

  • There have been rare instances of Indian mynas attacking people as well.


The Temperament of Mynah Bird

Mynah birds are friendly and social birds who adapt well to living in cages. They are an outgoing variety and make excellent pets. It is easy to train them to talk when they are younger. Babies who are hand-raised make better pets. 

  • Mynahs enjoy interacting with humans though not very fond of cuddling or playing and learning tricks.

  • Younger mynahs adapt readily to a new environment so it is a good idea to expose your pet bird to as many people of both sexes as possible at a young age.

  • Mynah birds bond well with those people who give them lots of attention by feeding them, cleaning their cages, and giving them speech training.

  • Mynah birds can attack other birds so it is best to keep other species of birds apart if you plan to have two birds at your place.


Mynah Vocalizations and Speech

You will be surprised that your pet mynah bird can do more than just repeat things said to it. They have wide and varied vocalization techniques in their repertoire such as screeching, wheezing, and many other sounds which oddly resemble human vocalizations. 

  • Hill and common mynas are popular for their excellent mimicry of human speech.

  • Mynahs are capable of learning upto 100 words

  • In order to teach speech to a mynah successfully, you require patience and lots of repetitions.

  • Any word or phrase you want your mynah to learn, you should clearly speak those words to the bird and repeat it many times.


Nutrition and Diet of a Mynah

Mynah is a scavenger and can feed on almost anything and everything. Their food consists of insects, reptiles, pets’ food, scraps from fruits and vegetables, and even a fledgling sparrow. 

  • Hill mynahs in the wild mostly eat fruits.

  • Common mynah are omnivores.

  • If you have a mynah as a pet then to provide the right nutrition you should feed it with softbill pellets that contain 18% protein, 8%fat, and a very small amount of iron. Iron should be less in their diet as they are prone to diseases caused by the malabsorption of iron. 

  • These pills should form 50% of their meal.

  • Other fruits that you can feed them are ripe and sweet banana, apple, dates, grapes, mango, peaches, papaya, pineapple, orange, watermelon, pear, and plum.

  • Do not feed them lots of bananas as bananas contain a high amount of sugar.

  • Do not give them dry fruits which contain a huge amount of iron, for instance, raisins. For the same reason, avoid giving them green vegetables which have high iron content such as peas, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and green beans.

  • When you feed them fruits, remove the seeds as seeds may be toxic.

  • Mynahs do not chew their food so make sure to provide their fruit or vegetables in bite-size.

  • You can supplement the mynah’s meal with crickets, waxworms, or mealworms.

  • If you plan to breed your mynahs then the diet of the breeding pair must have 5% mealworms in it. Mealworms should also be available to the mother for feeding her baby.

  • You must give mynahs filtered or distilled water at all times.


Damages Caused By Mynahas

Myna birds can carry parasites that can transmit dangerous diseases. They can contaminate the area with their feces. Maina can also damage many systems in the house like venting systems, air conditioning units, and heating systems.


Common Health Problems in Mynahas

Mynah birds are predisposed to iron storage disease or hemochromatosis and liver disease. Hemochromatosis is related to their diet intake rich in iron. Hence iron intake in mynahs needs to be carefully managed.

FAQs on Myna

1. How Did Indian Mynah Birds that are Native to Asia, Reach Australia?

Ans - Australia was gripped by a severe locust plague in the 1880s. It was then that the Indian mynah birds (Acridotheres tristis) were brought to Melbourne market gardens to control the growth of locusts. This bird was later introduced in Queensland to curb the growth of grasshoppers and cane beetles. 

2. Do Caged Mynah Birds Need any Kind of Exercise on a Daily Basis?

Ans  - It is essential to let your mynah pets out of their cage once a day for at least an hour. When you let them out make sure all your windows and doors are closed. You should also turn off your ceiling fans and remove other pets from the area. Mynah enjoys playing with toys like bottle caps, mirrors, or bells. Do not let them fiddle with ropes or rope toys since the rope might get caught in your pet’s toenails or tongue.

3. What Measures Must be Taken to Prevent Mynahs From Becoming a Nuisance?

Ans - If you do not want mynahs to cause trouble around your living space, you can take any or all of the following actions:

  • Do not feed them.

  • If there are birdhouses or bird feeders on your property, remove them.

  • Secure your outdoor trash cans with tight-fitting lids.

  • Eliminate sources of water from your areas like puddles or birdbaths.

  • Destroy nesting sites and install deterrents or proofing.

  • You could utilize many products to exclude mynah from your area like netting (bird net, wire, or mesh), wire coils, bird spikes, post and wire, and electric systems, etc.

  • Other methods that can be used as deterrents are utilizing scare devices such as audio or visual deterrents or a combination of both. 

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