Global Invasive Species Database 100 of the worst Donations home
Standard Search Standard Search Taxonomic Search   Index Search

   Acridotheres tristis (bird)  français     
Ecology Distribution Management
and Links

      Acridotheres tristis (Photo: KW Bridges, University of Hawai   Acridotheres tristis eggs in mail box  (Photo: Bill Handke) - Click for full size   Acridotheres tristis (Photo: KW Bridges, University of Hawai   Acridotheres tristis (Photo: KW Bridges, University of Hawai   Acridotheres tristis  (Photo: Julian Robinson) - Click for full size
    Taxonomic name: Acridotheres tristis (Linnaeus, 1766)
    Synonyms: Acridotheres tristas (Linnaeus, 1766)
    Common names: brun majna (Swedish), Calcutta myna (English), common myna (English), German Indischer mynah, Hirtenmaina (German), hjarðmænir (Icelandic), house myna (English), Indian myna (English), Indian mynah (English), kabairohakka (Japanese), maina (Danish), mainá común (Spanish), maina comune (Italian), mainato (Portuguese), majna brunatna (Polish), majna obecná (Czech), manu (Cook Islands), manu kaomani (Cook Islands), manu kavamani (Cook Islands), manu rataro (Cook Islands), manu teve (Cook Islands), Martin triste (French), merle des Moluques (French), mynah (English), pihamaina (Finnish), piru (Cook Islands), talking myna (English), treurmaina (Dutch)
    Organism type: bird
    The common myna (Acridotheres tristis), also called the Indian myna, is a highly commensal Passerine that lives in close association with humans. It competes with small mammals and bird for nesting hollows and on some islands, such as Hawaii and Fiji, it preys on other birds' eggs and chicks. It presents a threat to indigenous biota, particularly parrots and other birdlife, in Australia and elsewhere.
    Indian mynas are 23 to 26 cm long, weigh 82 to 143 g and have a wing-span of 120 to 142 mm (Markula Hannan-Jones & Csurhes 2009). The common myna has a medium to heavy build and a cocoa brown colour (Massam 2001). The head, neck and upper breast of the adult is glossy black, while the undertail coverts, tail tip and the outer feathers are white (Massam 2001). The white feathers can be seen most clearly when the bird is in flight. The bill, legs and feet are bright yellow, while the adult iris is reddish brown to brownish yellow in colour (Massam 2001). Male and female A. tristis are not clearly sexually dimorphic and are thus difficult to identify in the field (Counsilman Nee Jalil and Keng 1994).

    Mynas are distinctive birds in that they move about in a walk rather than a hop. Like most territorial birds they have a bout of intense calling in the early morning that lasts between 5 and 15 minutes. Males call more often than the females, and pairs sometimes duet. The territorial call is a rowdy medley of creaky notes, growls, rattles, raucous, gurgling, chattering and bell-like sounds in rapid sequence often strung together as a song. Adults with young utter harsh squarking noises and young learning to fly emit persistent "chi-chi-chis". At their communal roosts mynas maintain a noisy chattering, even well after nightfall and before dawn. To hear samples of the common myna call please go to: Tidemann, C. 2007b. Common Indian Myna Website > Identiying Mynas.

    Similar Species
    Manorina flavigula, Manorina melanocephala

    Occurs in:
    agricultural areas, urban areas
    Habitat description
    Common mynas are found in both tropical and temperate regions, from the tropics to southern Europe (Russia) and as far up as northern France (Feare 1998). They are able to adapt to a wide range of climates and habitats. They inhabit flood plains, grasslands, cultivated areas, plantations, as well as desert oases and foothills of various mountainous ranges (Feare and Craig, 1999). However, in general, the common myna reaches the highest densities in modified habitats near human establishments, including cities, towns, villages, farmland, rural dwellings, parks, gardens and roadsides (Gill 1999; Heather & Robertson 2000). The common myna evolved in open woodland habitats in India (Sengupta 1968, in Pell & Tidemann 1997) and is said to prefer anthropogenically modified woodland in Australia (Tildemann 2007e).

    The common myna is good at adapting to local environments. For example, in Fiji it congregates on the seashore feeding off crustaceans and other stranded sealife and has even colonised a small coral island. In Singapore it is strongly associated with the rural landscape, for example, agricultural and farm areas (Lim Sodhi Brook and Soh 2003). In Australia mynas prefer reserve habitats, especially the perimeters (Pell and Tidemann 1997). While reserves provide excellent environs for the myna in Australia and stimulate large numbers of mynas during the breeding season, during the winter months mynas find refuge in the surrounding suburban areas (Pell and Tidemann 1997).

    The common myna prefers warmer climates. For example, in New Zealand, it tends to avoid colder regions in the south such as Nelson; but interestingly it does establish stable populations near piggery sheds where sufficient heat is produced by the pigs to maintain a relatively high temperature; in addition there is an abundance of pig food available (P.R. Wilson Pers. Comm.). The common myna prefers to forage in open, grassy habitats (Crisp and Lill 2006, in Newey 2007), either in groups or alone, and roost in isolated stands of tall trees. In Singapore, it commonly roosts among monoclonal stands of tall densely canopied trees (Hails 1985; Yap et al. 2002). In Fiji, less densely canopied trees such as coconut palms are chosen by the adaptable bird for roosting and refuge (Stoner 1923).

    General impacts
    Flocks of the common myna are known to damage fruit crops, including grapes, apricots, apples, pears, strawberries, figs and gooseberries. (Heather and Robertson 1997).

    Mynas are communal and commensal, they are highly vocal throughout the year, making them a public nuisance. Their droppings are a nuisance (Yap et al. 20002, in Lim Sodhi Brook and Soh 2003) and public health concern. Mynas form combined populations of up to 160 000 (Lim Sodhi Brook and Soh 2003) and roost in numbers as great as 5000 (Markula Hannan-Jones & Csurhes 2009). They are a residential nuisance as they build nests in spouting and drainpipes (Stoner 1923). Mynas fearlessly steal food off plates which may be a hygiene or general nuisance for restaurants and other shops and scavenge food from people’s houses and gardens.

    Common mynas pose a human health risk as they carry bird mites such as Ornithonyssus bursa and Dermanyssus gallinae that may infect humans. They can also cause dermatitis, asthma, severe irritation and rashes. Their droppings can spread Psittacosis, Ornithosis, Salmonellosis and arboviruses (Pers. comm. Bill Handke). They may also carry owl flies, biting lice, Oxyspirrura thread worm and round worm (Stoner 1923). Mynas are known to carry avian malaria (Massam 2001).

    The common myna has been implicated in the demise of the lowland populations of the 'Vulnerable (VU)' Rarotonga starling (Aplonis cinerascens) (BirdLife International 2008b). Mynas are nest site competitors and can displace active breeding pairs of the Endangered (EN) Mauritius parakeet (Psittacula eques). In French Polynesia they are reported to predate on the Critically Endangered (CR) (Todiramphus godeffroyi).

    Please follow this link for more examples of the impacts of common mynas on threatened species.

    In India the common myna is referred to as the farmer’s friend because it protects crops by feeding on insect pests. In fact the myna has been deliberately introduced to continental landmasses and islands with warm temperate to tropical climates ostensibly to control invertebrate pests (Case 1996, Veltman et al. 1996, Feare & Craig 1998).
    Many myna species are accomplished mimics and can be taught to speak; for this reason the myna is a much sought-after pet in some parts of the world (Tidemann 2005), in Mallorca, Spain, several pet birds have escaped or been released into the wild.
    Mynas in India are regarded as symbols of undying love, because they often pair for life. In India maina is used as a term of endearment for young girls (Tidemann 2007c).
    The common myna is highly intelligent and acquires a fear response; it learns about an area in which it observes another individual experience an aversive event, namely capture by a human. This obviously has implications for management and control (Griffin & Boyce 2009).
    Geographical range
    Native range: The common myna originated from central and southern Asia and is widely distributed throughout India (Feare & Craig 1999). It is native to Afghanistan, Turkestan, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka as well as much of China and Indochina (Massam 2001).
    Known introduced range: The common myna has been introduced to parts of South East Asia, New Zealand, eastern Australia and southern Africa and Madagascar. It is also present in many islands in the Atlantic Ocean (including the Canary Islands, St Helena and Ascension Island), Indian Ocean (including Réunion, Mauritius, Rodriguez north to Lacadive and Maldive Islands and east to Andaman and Nicobar Islands) and Pacific Ocean (including Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Cook Islands, Society Islands and some other French Polynesian islands).
    Recently, reports have detailed breeding of common mynas in northern France (P. Clergeau Pers. Comm. 2005, Feare & Craig 1999). There are new records of both the common myna and the jungle myna (Acridotheres fuscus) on tropical islands, most recently on Kiribati (Teariki 2003).
    Introduction pathways to new locations
    Acclimatisation societies:
    Other: On large landmasses, including within large islands, invasion pathways appear to be primarily along roads (Tidemann 2005).
    Pet/aquarium trade: The pathway to the Spanish islands has been through pet shops and later escapes from the home cages.
    Ship: On oceanic islands, invasion pathways appear to be primarily via ships, particularly large ferries (Tearika 2003, D. Wattling Pers. Comm.).
    Taken to botanical garden/zoo: In Israel, mynas escaped from a private facility of exotic birds in the centre of the Tel Aviv public park.

    Local dispersal methods
    Escape from confinement: Escaped mynas breed in the wild and expand their territory.
    Escape from confinement:
    Natural dispersal (local): Escaped mynas breed in the wild.
    Management information
    Preventative measures: Risk assessment models by the Bureau of Rural Sciences, Australia, classifies the common myna in the highest threat category (Bomford 2003). The common myna is prohibited in Western Australia (Massam 2001).

    A Pest Animal Risk Assessment using a numerical risk assessment system developed by Bomford (2006) was carried out by the State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, in 2009. Indian mynas in Queensland were assessed as an ‘extreme’ threat species. See Markula et al 2009

    Physical: Foraging traps are very useful for the control of small myna populations if poisoning is not an option. The Tindall Trap and the Tidemann Trap have been used successfully in New Zealand and Australia, respectively. The Decoy Trap, Kadavu Trap, Larsen Trap, Rat snap-trap and other foraging traps have also been used for trapping myna birds with less success. Please follow this link to view a plan of Peter Green's starling, sparrow and myna trap is available . Mynas roost in large concentrations and netting operations and nest trapping may be appropriate for control. Mynas should be provided with food, shelter and perches in cages a few days prior to trapping. Mynas should be killed humanely by euthanasia with carbon dioxide (Thomas 2004). For more information on humane trapping and disposal of birds please see the Tidemann, C. 2007f. Common Indian Myna Website > Trapping Mynas and Tidemann, C. 2007g. Common Indian Myna Website > Humane Disposal.

    Chemical: Starlacide DRC1339 has been used against mynas and is effective where there are no non-target species issues. Alphachloralose paste is used for temporary local control of mynas in cooler climates. For more information on the use of these toxins please see NZFSA. Undated. DRC 1339 For Bird Control and Nelson. 1994. Bird Control in New Zealand Using Alpha-Chloralose and DRC1339.

    Integrated Pest Management: As invasive bird species are frequently associated with human modified environments IPM is an appropriate strategy (Lim Sodhi Brook and Soh 2003). Long term management practices may include habitat modification, resource limitation and public education. Restricting food available to the myna is difficult as it has such a variable diet (Thomas 2004).
    The need to raise public awareness is important part of IPM. Envirotalk Australia has a forum discussion on the myna topic. The Minimising Myna Website aids public education on the issue. The Canberra Indian Myna Action Group is a community group that has developed a number of strategies, including public education and a trapping program, to tackle the common myna. CIMAG's trapping program has been highly successful and has humanely removed over 12 000 Mynas from around Canberra in around 18 months (CIMAG Undated).

    Research: Kate Grarock is undertaking a PhD research project at Australian National University on the impact of Indian Mynas on native birds and the impact of trapping activity in the Canberra region.

    Common mynas are omnivorous scavengers and will feed on fruits, berries, grains, flower nectar, insects (including beetle larvae and adults, caterpillars, worms, flies, snails) and spiders. Nestlings are fed for the first ten days exclusively on invertebrates, primarily insects (Markula Hannan-Jones & Csurhes 2009). When insects are scarce, fruits and seeds make up a more important component of their diet (Peacock van Renburg & Robertson 2007). At such times, common mynas can become agricultural pests (Peacock van Renburg & Robertson 2007), feeding on the ripening fruit and seeds of plants such as figs, papaya, dates, apple, pear, tomato, and cereal crops such as maize, wheat and rice. Mynas are egg predators (Feare & Craig 1998), and are known to consume birds' eggs and chicks, as well as small reptiles.
    Common mynas are highly adaptable to human habitations (Sontag & Louette 2007) and local food resources. For example, they has been known to consume pet food (Australian Museum 2003) and forage on the seashore for worms, molluscs, crustaceans and other seafood stranded on the mud flats (Stoner 1923). They also scavenge rubbish dumps, pastures, farmyards and roads for roadkill.
    They are predominantly ground feeders, pecking prey from the surface in short pasture and grain stubble, but will opportunistically feed in flowering or fruiting trees and bushes (Feare and Craig 1999). In their native range of southern Asia the myna forms flocks in rural areas, which feast on insects and grubs turned up in the cultivated soil by the plough (Australian Museum 2003).
    The common myna stays in the same pair and maintains the same territory each year. It builds a cup-shaped nest out of dry grass, twigs and leaves and may construct its nest in a tree hollow, cliffside, building or thick vegetation. The common myna usually raises two broods per season, laying up to six pale greenish-blue eggs (3.1cm x 2.2cm; Massam 2001) in each brood, with an average of four. Both sexes brood and care for the young (Massam 2001). In New Zealand they lay eggs from mid-October to early March, with the highest egg-laying activity occurring from November to January. In Australia up to three broods of young may be produced in one season. Both sexes brood and care for the young (Massam 2001).
    Lifecycle stages
    The female myna incubates her eggs for 13 to 14 days. The fledging period lasts between 20 to 32 days, averaging 25 days. Parents feed the chicks as long as three weeks after they have left the nest (Massam 2001). Sexual maturity occurs at nine to 12 months. Juveniles form small flocks and may form mating pairs at as young as nine months old although few breed in their first year. Life span is an average of four years in the wild, possibly up to 12 years for some individuals (Markula Hannan-Jones & Csurhes 2009).
    This species has been nominated as among 100 of the "World's Worst" invaders
    Compiled by: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
    Updates on management information with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment
    Last Modified: Monday, 4 July 2011

ISSG Landcare Research NBII IUCN University of Auckland