Photo cortesy of Aves de Portugal
Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis, Linnaeus, 1766)
Origin: Central and Southern Asia
Size: 22 to 25 cm in length
The Common Myna is a small passerine, an Indian Starling. The plumage is dark brown, with white patches on the outer primaries (wings), the head is black, the bill and legs are yellow and it has a bare yellow skin behind the eye. Very loud and noisy bird, especially at the end of the day in the communal roost where they vocalise in unison. Males and females are alike.
This species is native to Central and Southern Asia, occurs in India, Afghanistan, Turkestan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Southern China and Indochina; the native range lies within the tropics and subtropics; prefers warmer climates. Inhabits open woodlands, flood plains, grasslands, cultivated areas, foothills of mountains and urban areas. The diet is omnivorous (seeds, grains, fruits, insects and spiders), they also scavengers (street litter, animal food, roadkill) and can predate the eggs and chicks of other birds; mainly feeds on the ground.
The Common Myna was introduced in several parts of the world; some introductions were deliberated with the intention to provide biological control of insect species, some were accidental as a result from escapes from the caged bird trade. The first deliberate introductions happen in the middle of the 18th century, in some Pacific Islands with the intention to control plagues of Locusts. The species is now present in parts of South East Asia, New Zealand, Eastern Australia, Southern Africa, Madagascar and several Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. More recently (2005) was established in Southern France and (2003) Southern USA. In Portugal, this species has been observed only in the Lisbon area, but has not an established population.
In 2000, IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) listed the Common Myna among the 100 worst invasive species, because its range has increased at a very fast rate. The species is able to adapt to a wide range of climates and habitats, and highly adapted to humans, in some areas it is also considered a pest for agriculture (feeds on seeds and fruits). The Common Myna is a dominant species and it competes with the native fauna for food, nest sites and can spread invasive plants and pathogens.