Thursday, February 28, 2008
Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis), is a myna, a member of the starling family. This bird is native in southern Asia from Iran and Kazakhstan to Malaysia and China, and in Egypt. It is also known as the Indian Myna and as the Talking Myna for its ability to mimic human speech. In India, it is called Lali or Lalee. In urban settings, it thrives on household trash and restaurant waste.
It has been introduced widely elsewhere, including adjacent areas in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, South Africa, Israel, North America, Australia, New Zealand and various oceanic islands, including a very prominent population in Hawaii.
This abundant passerine is typically found in open woodland, cultivation and around habitation. The Common Myna builds a nest in hole in a tree or wall. The normal clutch is 4–6 eggs.
Although this is an adaptable species, its population has been decreasing significantly in Singapore and Malaysia due to competition with its cousin, the introduced
This 25-cm-long bird has dark brown body and wing plumage, with large white wing patches obvious in flight. The head and throat are dark grey. The bill, bare skin around the eyes and strong legs are bright yellow. The sexes are similar. Mynas mate for life.
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 walks on the ground with occasional hops.
The song 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. Common Mynas are popular as cage birds for their singing and "speaking" abilities.