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History and biology


Hear the Myna Bird call

                

The arrival of Myna birds into Australia

photo by G Dabb Source: Geoffrey Dabb

The Myna bird (also known as Indian Myna and Common Myna) (Acridotheres tristis) was introduced into Australia in 1862 to control insect pests in Melbourne market gardens and then Sydney. Shortly after, it was released in North Queensland to control cane beetles attracted to sugar cane crops. Cane toads were released for the same reason. Throughout their native habitat in India and SE Asia, myna birds are known as 'the farmers friend' as they eat insects that damage many crops. However, they have adapted to suit many environments and have established feral populations in many parts of the world, including Australia. 
 
Myna birds are largely restricted to eastern Australia, but are spreading across many States and into many regional areas of Victoria, NSW and Queensland. They have occupied the ACT since 1968, and have now become established in almost all suburbs of the city as well as rural areas and nature reserves. They occupy several other major cities including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Cairns and Townsville. They have spread throughout coastal areas, rural and agricultural landscapes, nature reserves and national parks, and into many regional centres. They have historically occupied urban areas, but are increasingly colonising rural and agricultural landscapes where they damage crops and fruit, and feed on grains and stockfeed.
 

Myna bird biology and breeding

Photo by K GrarockSource: Kate Grarock, ANU

Myna birds are a small-medium sized brown coloured bird often found in small flocks or large family groups. They use communal roost sites during the night and forage mainly on the ground. They scavenge around urban landscapes and taking insects, fruit and the young of other birds. Apart from females that may be incubating eggs or nesting, mynas tend to sleep during the night in communal roosts. These communal roosts may be located within a kilometre or so from where you see individuals, and are usually in dense vegetation or trees. Communal roosts may consist of several hundred birds which gather at the site or near to the site in late afternoon. Roosting sites are also usually easy to find as myna birds are very vocal in these roosting sites.
 
Myna birds form breeding pairs by around September each year and breeding occurs between September and March. They usually nest in roof cavities, natural tree hollows, and under the eaves of buildings, and they have 4-5 chicks. Once fledged, offspring and adults may travel in small family groups. Larger groups of 20 or more birds may also be seen. Outside of breeding times, myna's will generally roost in communal roost sites - which will split up in the mornings and reform during the late afternoon. It is thought that communal roost sites are located near reliable food sources, such as a racecourse.

More information

 
Canberra Indian Myna Action Group: http://www.indianmynaaction.org.au/ 
Indian Myna Handbook
Australian National University http://fennerschool-associated.anu.edu.au/myna/index.html
Birds in backyards species profile http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Acridotheres-tristis
Indian Mynas (mid north coast) http://www.indianmynaproject.com.au/
ACT (Dept of Territory and Municipal Services) http://www.tams.act.gov.au/play/pcl/pestsandweeds/indianmynabirds 
 
Recent Records
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CONTROL ADVICE

  • Never approach traps during daylight hours as trapped myna birds may give an alarm call that other birds will hear. Thereafter they may perceive the trap as a threat - Bill Handke
  • Make sure there is plenty of food, water and shelter in your myna bird trap - Happy lure birds (callers) will attract others - Nick K
  • Email your top control tips to mynascan@feralscan.org.au and we’ll display them here
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