Acridotheres tristis

Acridotheres tristis , Photo: Michael Lahanas

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Parvordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Muscicapoidea
Familia: Sturnidae
Genus: Acridotheres
Species: Acridotheres tristis
Subspecies: A. t. melanosternus - A. t. naumanni - A. t. tristis - A. t. tristoides


Acridotheres tristis (Linnaeus, 1766)

Acridotheres tristis (*)


Systema Naturae ed.12 p.167


The Common Myna or Indian Myna (Acridotheres tristis) also sometimes spelled Mynah, is a member of the starling family. It is a species of bird native to Asia with its initial home range spanning from Iran, Pakistan, India and Kazakhstan to Malaysia and China.[2] An omnivorous open woodland bird with a strong territorial instinct, the Myna has adapted extremely well to urban environments.

The Myna has been introduced in many other parts of the world and its distribution range is on the increase to an extent that in 2000 the IUCN Species Survival Commission (IUCN) declared it among the World's 100 worst invasive species.[3] The Myna is one of only three birds in this list of invasive species. It is a serious threat to the ecosystems of Australia.

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 race found in Sri Lanka, A. t. melanosternus is darker than the widespread nominate race. The sexes are similar and birds are usually seen in pairs.[4]

The calls includes croaks, squawks, chirps, clicks and whistles, 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 its about to take off flying.[5] Common Mynas are popular as cage birds for their singing and "speaking" abilities. They are believed to mate for life. They breed through much of the year depending on the location, building their nest in a hole in a tree or wall. The normal clutch is 4–6 eggs. The Asian Koel is sometimes brood parasitic on this species.[6]

Like most starlings, the Common Myna is omnivorous. It feeds on insects and fruits and discarded waste from human habitation. It forages on the ground among grass for insects, and especially for grasshoppers, from which it gets the generic name Acridotheres, "grasshopper hunter". It however feeds on a wide range of insects, mostly picked from the ground.[7] It walks on the ground with occasional hops.


This abundant passerine is typically found in open woodland, cultivation and around habitation.

Although this is an adaptable species, its population has been decreasing significantly in Singapore and Malaysia (locally called as 'gembala kerbau', literally 'buffalo shepherd') due to competition with its cousin, the introduced Javan Myna.[8]
Urban success
The Common Myna thrives in urban and suburban environments; in Canberra, for instance, 110 Common Mynas were released between 1968 and 1971. By 1991, Common Myna population density in Canberra averaged 15 birds per square kilometer.[9] Only three years later, a second study found an average population density of 75 birds per square kilometer in the same area.[10]

The bird likely owes its success in the urban and suburban settings of Sydney and Canberra to its evolutionary origins; having evolved in the open woodlands of India, the Common Myna is pre-adapted to habitats with tall vertical structures and little to no vegetative ground cover,[11] features characteristic of city streets and urban nature preserves.

The Common Myna (along with European Starlings, House Sparrows, and feral Rock Doves) is a nuisance to city buildings; its nests block gutters and drainpipes, causing water damage to building exteriors.[12]

Invasive species

The IUCN declared this myna as one of the only three birds among the World's 100 worst invasive species.[13] (Other two invasive birds being Red-vented bulbul and European Starling) It has been introduced widely elsewhere, including adjacent areas in Southeast Asia, Madagascar,[14] the Middle East, South Africa, Israel, North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and various oceanic islands, including a very prominent population in Hawaii.[2]

The Common Myna is a pest in South Africa, North America, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and many Pacific islands. It is particularly problematic in Australia. Several methods have been tried to control the bird's numbers and protect native species.


In Australia, the Common Myna is an invasive pest. They are now often the predominant bird in urban areas all along the East coast. In a 2008 popular vote, the bird was named "The Most Important Pest/Problem" in Australia.[15]

The Common Myna is found naturally throughout Southeast Asia, and was first introduced to Australia in Victoria between 1863 and 1872 into Melbourne’s market gardens to control insects. The bird is likely to have spread to New South Wales (where it is currently most populous) at around the same time, but documentation is uncertain.[16] The bird was later introduced to Queensland as a predator of grasshoppers and cane beetles; the reasons for its original introduction to Victoria is however, lost in history.[16] Currently, Common Myna populations in Australia are concentrated along the eastern coast around Sydney and its surrounding suburbs, with sparser populations in Victoria and a few isolated communities in Queensland.[17]

The bird can live and breed in a wide range of temperatures, though it thrives in hotter regions. Self-sustaining populations of Common Myna have been found in regions of mean warmest month temperature no less than 23.2°C and mean coldest month temperature no less than -0.4°C, implying that the Common Myna could potentially spread from Sydney northward along the eastern coast to Cairns and westward along the southern coast to Adelaide (though not to Tasmania, Darwin, or across the Great Dividing Range to the arid interior regions).[18]

South Africa

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.[19]

Effect on ecosystems and humans

Threat to native birds
The Common Myna is a hollow-nesting species; that is, it nests and breeds in protected hollows found either naturally in trees or artificially on buildings (for example, recessed windowsills or low eaves).[20] Compared to native hollow-nesting species, the Common Myna is extremely aggressive, and breeding males will actively defend areas ranging up to 0.83 hectares in size (though males in densely populated urban settings tend to only defend the area immediately surrounding their nests).[21]

This aggressiveness has enabled the Common Myna to displace many breeding pairs of native hollow-nesters, thereby reducing their reproductive success. In particular, the reproduction rates of native hollow-nesting parrots in the bush land of eastern Australia have been reduced by up to 80% by the Common Myna (which was even able to out-compete another aggressive introduced species in the area, the European Starling).[20]

The Common Myna is also known to maintain up to two roosts simultaneously; a temporary summer roost close to a breeding site (where the entire local male community sleeps during the summer, the period of highest aggression), and a permanent all-year roost where the female broods and incubates overnight. Both male and female Common Mynas will fiercely protect both roosts at all times, leading to further exclusion of native birds.[21]

Threat to crops and pasture

The Common Myna (which feeds mostly on ground-dwelling insects, tropical fruits such as grapes plums and some berries and, in urban areas, discarded human food)[22] poses a serious threat to Australian blueberry crops, though its main threat is to native bird species.[23]

In Hawaii, where the Common Myna was introduced to control pest armyworms and cutworms in sugarcane crops, the bird has helped to spread the robust Lantana camara weed across the islands’ open grasslands.[24]


1. ^ BirdLife International (2008). Acridotheres tristis. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 23 February 2009.
2. ^ a b "Common Myna". Retrieved December 23, 2007.
3. ^ Lowe S., Browne M., Boudjelas S. and de Poorter M. (2000). 100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. A selection from the Global Invasive Species Database.. The Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), a specialist group of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Auckland.
4. ^ Rasmussen, PC & JC Anderton (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Vol 2. Smithsonian Institution & Lynx Edicions. p. 584.
5. ^ Griffin, Andrea S. (2008). "Social learning in Indian mynahs, Acridotheres tristis: the role of distress calls.". Animal Behaviour 75 (1): 79–89. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.04.008.
6. ^ Choudhury A. (1998). "Common Myna feeding a fledgling koel". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 95 (1): 115.
7. ^ Mathew, DN; Narendran, TC; Zacharias, VJ (1978). "A comparative study of the feeding habits of certain species of Indian birds affecting agriculture.". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 75 (4): 1178–1197.
8. ^ Bird Ecology Study Group, Nature Society (Singapore): <>. Accessed 25 Oct 2007
9. ^ Pell, A.S.; C.R. Tidemann (1997). "The Ecology of the Common Myna in Urban Nature Reserves in the Australian Capital Territory". Emu (Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union) 97: 141–149. doi:10.1071/MU97018.
10. ^ Pell 1997, p.146
11. ^ Pell 1997, p.141
12. ^ Bomford, M.; Ron Sinclair (2002). "Australian research on bird pests: impact, management and future directions". Emu (Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union) 102: 35. doi:10.1071/MU01028.
13. ^ Lowe S., Browne M., Boudjelas S. and de Poorter M. (2000). 100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. A selection from the Global Invasive Species Database. The Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), a specialist group of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Auckland.
14. ^ Wilme, Lucienne (1996). "Composition and characteristics of bird communities in Madagascar" (PDF). Biogéographie de Madagascar: 349–362.
15. ^ ABC Wildwatch
16. ^ a b Hone, J. (1978). "Introduction and Spread of the Common Myna in New South Wales". Emu (Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union) 78 (4): 227.
17. ^ Martin, W.K. (1996). "The Current and Potential Distribution of the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis in Australia". Emu (Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union) 96: 169–170.
18. ^ Martin 1996, pp.169-170
19. ^ Derick S. Peacock, Berndt J. van Rensburg and Mark P. Robertson (2007). "The distribution and spread of the invasive alien Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis L. (Aves: Sturnidae), in southern Africa". South African Journal of Science 103: 465–473.
20. ^ a b Bomford 2002, p.34
21. ^ a b Pell 1997, p.148
22. ^ Pell 1997, p.147
23. ^ Bomford 2002, p.30
24. ^ Pimentel, D.; Lori Lach, Rodolfo Zuniga, Doug Morrison (January, 2000). "Environmental and Economic Costs of Nonindigenous Species in the United States". BioScience (American Institute of Biological Sciences) 50 (1): 53–56. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2000)050[0053:EAECON2.3.CO;2].

Further reading

* Feare, Chris; Craig, Adrian (1999). Starlings and Mynas. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-7136-3961-X.
* Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, Birds of India ISBN 0-691-04910-6
* Pell, A.S. & Tidemann, C.R. (1997) "The impact of two exotic hollow-nesting birds on two native parrots in savannah and woodland in eastern Australia", Biological Conservation, 79, 145-153. A study showing native birds being excluded from up to 80% of nesting sites in Canberra, Australia.


* Kannan, R., and D. A. James. 2001. Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis). In The Birds of North America, No. 583 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.


* Tunhikorn S. Ph.D. (1989). Resource partitioning of four sympatric mynas and starlings (Sturnidae) in Thailand. Oregon State University, United States.


* Baker AJ & Moeed A. (1979). "Evolution in the Introduced New-Zealand Populations of the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis Aves Sturnidae.". Canadian Journal of Zoology 57 (3): 570–584. doi:10.1139/z79-067.
* Baker AJ & Moeed A. (1980). "Morphometric variation in Indian samples of the Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis (Aves, Sturnidae).". Bijdragen Tot De Dierkunde 50 (2): 351–363.
* Baker AJ & Moeed A. (1 May 1987). "Rapid genetic differentiation and founder effect in colonizing populations of Common Mynas (Acridotheres tristis).". Evolution 41 (3): 525–538. doi:10.2307/2409254. ISSN 00143820.
* Bharucha EK. (1989). "Common Myna as a Campfollower of Lesser Whistling Teals.". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 86 (3).
* Bilgin CC. (1996). "First record of the Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) from Ankara, Turkey.". Zoology in the Middle East 13: 25–26.
* Bilqees FM, Khatoon N & Haseeb MF. (2004). "Neoechinorhynchotaenia sindhensis N. gen., N. sp. from the bird Acridotheres tristis of Sindh, Pakistan.". Pakistan Journal of Zoology 36 (3): 207–209.
* Chandra S, Agarwal GP & Saxena AK. (1988). "Seasonal Changes in the Population of Mallophaga on Acridotheres tristis.". Angewandte Parasitologie 29 (4): 244–249. PMID 3245637.
* Chandra S, Agarwal GP & Saxena AK. (1989). Distribution of Mallophaga on the Body of Acridotheres tristis Aves. Angewandte Parasitologie. 30. pp. 39–42.
* Chandra S, Agarwal GP, Singh SPN & Saxena AK. (1990). "Seasonal Changes in a Population of Menacanthus eurysternus Mallophaga Amblycera on the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis.". International Journal for Parasitology 20 (8): 1063–1066. doi:10.1016/0020-7519(90)90050-W.
* Chaturvedi CM & Thapliyal JP. (1979). "Comparative Study of Adrenal Cycles in 3 Species of Indian Birds Athene brama, Acridotheres tristis and Coturnix coturnix.". Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 17 (10): 1049–1052.
* Chauhan RB, Parasharya BM & Yadav DN. (1998). "The food of nestlings of Indian Myna Acridotheres tristis. In Dhindsa, M S [Editor], Rao, P S [Editor], Parasharya, B M [Editor] Society for Applied Ornithology (India) , A. P. Agricultural University, Rajendranagar 500 030, India.". Birds in agricultural ecosystem: 138–148.
* Crisp H & Lill A. (2006). "City slickers: Habitat use and foraging in urban Common Mynas Acridotheres tristis.". Corella 30 (1): 9–15.
* Davidar ERC. (1991). "14. Common Myna Acridotheres tristis Linn. Fishing.". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 88 (2).
* Dhanda SK & Dhindsa MS. (1993). "Eviction of ring dove, Streptopelia decaocto, from a nest box by Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis.". Pavo 31 (1-2): 35–38.
* Dhanda SK & Dhindsa MS. (1996). "Breeding performance of Indian Myna Acridotheres tristis in nestboxes and natural sites.". Ibis 138 (4): 788–791.
* Dhanda SK & Dhindsa MS. (1996). "Intraspecific brood parasitism in the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis (Linn.).". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 93 (1): 91–93.
* Dhanda SK & Dhindsa MS. (1998). "Breeding ecology of Common Myna Acridotheres tristis with special reference to the effect of season and habitat on reproductive variables.". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 95 (1): 43–56.
* Fitzsimons JA. (2006). "Anti-predator aggression in the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis.". Australian Field Ornithology 23: 202–205.
* Fleischer RC, Williams RN & Baker AJ. (1991). "Genetic Variation within and among Populations of the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis in Hawaii USA.". Journal of Heredity 82 (3): 205–208.
* Gibson AR, Baker AJ & Moeed A. (1 December 1984). "Morphometric Variation in Introduced Populations of the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis an Application of the Jackknife to Principal Component Analysis.". Systematic Zoology 33 (4): 408–421. doi:10.2307/2413092. ISSN 00397989.
* Greig-Smith P. (1982). "Behavior of Birds Entering and Leaving Communal Roosts of Madagascar Fodies Foudia madagascariensis and Indian Mynahs Acridotheres tristis.". Ibis 124 (4): 529–534. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1982.tb03797.x.
* Gupta RC & Goel P. (1994). "On the roosting behaviour of Bank myna, Common Myna and pied myna.". Geobios 21 (2): 93–100.
* Hermes N. (1986). "A Census of the Common Mynah Acridotheres tristis Along an Axis of Dispersal.". Corella 10 (2): 55–57.
* Homan P. (2000). "Excluding the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis from artificial nest boxes using a baffle.". Victorian Naturalist 117 (2).
* Hone J. (1978). "Introduction and Spread of the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis in New-South-Wales Australia.". Emu 78 (4): 227–230.
* Ishtiaq, F; Beadell, JS; Baker, AJ; Rahmani, AR; Jhala, YV; Fleischer, RC (March 2006). "Prevalence and evolutionary relationships of haematozoan parasites in native versus introduced populations of Common Myna Acridotheres tristis." (Free full text). Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences Series B 273 (1586): 587–594. doi:10.1098/rspb.2005.3313. ISSN 0962-8452. PMID 16537130. PMC 1560061.
* Jadhav BV & Dandawate RR. (2004). "A new species of the genus Lapwingia (Singh 1952) from Acridotheres tristis at Aurangabad, India.". Uttar Pradesh Journal of Zoology 24 (2): 209–211.
* Kumar A, Kumar B, Arora MP, Kumar S & Tyagi R. (2004). "Effect of environmental factors on annual reproductive cycle of female Common Myna Acridotheres tristis.". Journal of Experimental Zoology India 7 (2): 313–318.
* Mahabal A. (1993). "Activity-time budget of Indian myna Acridotheres tristis (Linnaeus) during the breeding season.". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 90 (1): 96–97.
* Mahabal A. (1993). "Communal display behaviour of Indian myna, Acridotheres tristis (Linnaeus).". Pavo 31 (1-2): 45–54.
* Mahabal A. (1997). "Communal roosting in Common Mynas Acridotheres tristis and its functional significance.". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 94 (2): 342–349.
* Mahabal A, Bastawade DB & Vaidya VG. (1990). "Spatial and Temporal Fluctuations in the Populations of Common Myna Acridotheres tristis Linnaeus in and around an Indian City.". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 87 (3): 392–398.
* Mahabal A & Bastawde DB. (1991). "Mixed roosting associates of Indian Myna Acridotheres tristis in Pune City, India.". Pavo 29 (1-2): 23–32.
* Mahabal A & Vaidya VG. (1989). "Diurnal Rhythms and Seasonal Changes in the Roosting Behavior of Indian Myna Acridotheres tristis Linnaeus.". Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences Animal Sciences 98 (3): 199–210.
* Malhi CS. (1987). "Hoarding Behavior in Common Myna Acridotheres tristis.". Zeitschrift fuer Angewandte Zoologie 74 (2): 247–248.
* Mallick B & Sarkar AK. (1982). "Observation on Cadmium Damage in Ovary of Common Myna Acridotheres tristis.". Proceedings of the Zoological Society 35 (1-2): 23–26.
* Martin WK. (1996). "The current and potential distribution of the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis in Australia.". Emu 96: 166–173.
* Pawar SB & Shinde GB. (2003). "A new species Valipora kallamensis n.sp. (Cestoda: Dilepididae) from Acridotheres tristis at Kallam, India.". Uttar Pradesh Journal of Zoology 23 (2): 167–169.
* Pell AS & Tidemann CR. (1997). "The ecology of the Common Myna in urban nature reserves in the Australian Capital Territory.". Emu 97: 141–149. doi:10.1071/MU97018.
* Rahman MK & Husain KZ. (1988). "Notes on the Breeding Record of the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis tristis Linnaeus.". Bangladesh Journal of Zoology 16 (2): 155–158.
* Salunkhe PS. (1999). "Albino myna (Acridotheres tristis) near Vita, in Maharashtra.". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 96 (3).
* Sengupta S. (1976). "Food and Feeding Ecology of the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis.". Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy Part B Biological Sciences 42 (6): 338–345.
* Sood ML & Dang HR. (1978). "Diplotriaena-Bhamoensis a Nematode Infection in Acridotheres tristis and Acridotheres ginginianus.". Rivista di Parassitologia 39 (2-3): 113–116.
* Srivastava R, Kumar S, Gupta N, Singh SK & Saxena AK. (2003). "Path coefficient analysis of correlation between breeding cycles of the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis (Passeriformes: Sturnidae) and its phthirapteran ectoparasites.". Folia Parasitologica 50 (4): 315–316. PMID 14971602.
* Telecky TM. (1988). "Multiple Parentage in the Permanently Monogamous Common Myna Acridotheres tristis.". Pacific Science 42 (1-2): 133–134.
* Toor HS & Dhindsa MS (1980). "A New Nesting Site of Common Myna Acridotheres tristis in the Punjab India.". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 77 (2): 329–330.
* Uniyal DP (2004). "A note on behavioural observation of Rhesus Monkey (Macaca mulatta) and Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis).". Indian Forester 130 (4): 469–470.

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