The myna (also known as mynah) is a bird of the starling family (Sturnidae). This is a group of passerine birds which are native to southern Asia, especiallyIndia. Several species have been introduced to areas like North America,Australia, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand, especially the common mynawhich is often regarded as an invasive species. Often known as "Selarang" in Singapore, due to their high population located at the area.
Mynas are not a natural group; instead, the term myna is used for any starling in the Indian subcontinent, regardless of their relationships. This range was colonized twice during the evolution of starlings, first by rather ancestral starlings related to the coleto and Aplonis lineages, and millions of years later by birds related to the common starling and wattled starling's ancestors. These two groups of mynas can be distinguished in the more terrestrial adaptions of the latter, which usually also have less glossy plumage except on the heads and longer tails. The Bali myna which is nearly extinct in the wild is highly distinctive.
Some mynas are considered talking birds, for their ability to reproduce sounds, including human speech, when in captivity.
"Myna" is derived from the Hindi language mainā which itself is derived fromSanskrit madanā
Somewhat scarce in the United States, mynahs hold the title of best mimics in the avian realm – even better than African greys. Mynahs are playful in other ways, too. They love to hop from perch to perch, and anything left laying around the house is fair game for a mynah’s thieving beak. You’ll need an extra large cage (at least 3 feet wide) to house these active birds, and, like most softbills, mynahs require a specially-formulated low-iron diet. Add the line below to the mynah profile, please! This info should have been included. Also, the mynah is not just one species, so that species name should be erased from the profile. In the U.S., you’re most likely to encounter a greater Indian hill mynah (Gracula. Religiosa intermedia) or possibly a Java hill mynah (G. r. religiosa).
Zuccon et al. 2006
Jump up^ myna. CollinsDictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 11th Edition. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
Jump up^ New Oxford American Dictionary
Zuccon, Dario; Cibois, Anne; Pasquet, Eric & Ericson, Per G.P. (2006): Nuclear and mitochondrial sequence data reveal the major lineages of starlings, mynas and related taxa. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 41(2): 333-344. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.007 PMID 16806992 (HTML abstract)
Mynas are medium-sized passerines with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eatinsects and fruit.
Plumage is typically dark, often brown, although some species have yellow head ornaments. Most species nest in holes.
Some species have become well known for their imitative skills; the common hill myna is one of these.
The following are species of mynas. The coleto and the two Saroglossa starlings are included because of their position in the taxonomic list.
Jungle and hill mynas:
The following species are often included in the Acridotheres mynas:
Myna perched in a flowering tree, Nishiki-e (color woodblock print) by Isoda Koryusai, c. 1775.
- Provide perches. Place a variety of perches made from different materials and of diameters in a mynah’s cage. The perches’ diameters should be 1” and should be placed in front of food and water dishes.
Common mynah on a tree. Kollam, Kerala, India.
Common myna, Acridotheres tristis
Two myna sitting together
Exotic Birds: Mynah Bird
Singing and talking Mynah
Mynah Birds - Feeding
courtesy to : www.vcahospitals.com/main
"Mynah birds have a short digestive tract, which make for a very quick transit time."
Our knowledge of bird nutrition is constantly evolving. This is due both to heightened awareness of the importance of nutrition and to increased research into birds different needs. As with all other animals, birds need a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins,
fat, vitamins, minerals and water. Different species of birds often require different foods. Mynah birds have a short digestive tract, which make for a very quick transit time. This means your mynah bird will eat a LOT and likely have frequent and often very loose droppings. It is NOT uncommon to have blue droppings 15-20 minutes after eating blueberries!
Should I be concerned about what my mynah bird eats?
Nutrition is commonly neglected with pet birds. You should discuss your mynah bird's nutrition with your veterinarian. Too often owners assume they are feeding a proper diet to their mynah bird when in fact they are not! This is a common reason for many health problems. Hemochromatosis or iron storage disease in mynah birds has long been suspected to be related to high dietary iron intake. It is important to continually strive to improve your bird's diet. This involves constantly educating yourself and a certain degree of common sense. It is not sufficient to feed a mynah bird just to maintain life; instead, your goal should be to help it thrive and flourish. Your bird's health depends on how well it is fed.
What does my mynah bird naturally eat?
Mynah birds are omnivorous. That is to say, they would naturally eat a huge variety of fruits, insects, larva, amphibians, lizards, small snakes, eggs, baby birds, baby rodents and scavenge for garbage occasionally. They are not seedeaters in the wild.
* Mynah birds do not chew/bite their food into pieces like parrots do, and they do not have a crop for the storage of food; therefore it is important food be presented in small easy to swallow, bite size pieces. You should provide your mynah bird with a well-balanced diet at all times. Consult your veterinarian if encountering any problems with diet or the health of the bird.
"Pellets should NOT be the sole diet for a mynah bird."
Pellets have been developed to meet all your bird's nutritional needs as best as possible. Pellets are the ideal diet, nutritious, easy to feed and since pellets are dry, the bird's droppings tend to be less messy. Pellets should NOT be the sole diet for a mynah bird. Some pellets have excessively high iron values that may contribute to hemochromatosis or iron storage disease in mynah birds. Some companies have reduced the iron content in their pellets to less than 90 ppm (90 mg/kg). Check with your veterinarian for the latest iron content recommendations.
Fruits and Vegetables
A large variety of diced fruits such as those listed at the end of this handout should be offered every day. Fruits and vegetables must be washed thoroughly to remove chemicals. Cut them into manageable pieces depending on the size of the bird. It is not necessary to take the skin off. Offer fruits and vegetables in a separate dish. If your bird appears to develop a particular fancy for one food item, reduce its volume or stop feeding it temporarily to promote the eating of other foods.
((If your bird appears to develop a particular fancy for one food item, reduce its volume or stop feeding it temporarily to promote the eating of other foods. ))
Various diced vegetables may be offered but this should NOT a large part of a mynah birds diet. Pale vegetables, with a high water composition (i.e. iceberg or head lettuce, celery), offer very little nutritional value. Avocado is reported to be potentially toxic.
Treat your bird like a small child; offer a small piece of a variety of food items daily and never stop trying. A well balanced diet must be maintained at all times.
Fresh clean water must be available at all times. Depending on the quality of your tap water, you might consider the use of bottled water.
Dishes must be cleaned thoroughly every day with soap and water.
What about other foods?
As a rule, any wholesome, nutritious food that you and your family eat your bird can eat. Follow the general guidelines discussed above and use your common sense. Some birds even enjoy a small amount of lean cooked meat, fish, egg white or yogurt occasionally. Dog food such as U/D by Hillsâ is low in iron and can be offered occasionally. Dairy products should be consumed in moderation. Mynah birds may occasionally enjoy pinky mice or insects such as mealworms, wax worms, crickets and other insects (soft-bodied insects are more nutritious). It is common sense that junk food, chocolate, products containing caffeine and alcoholic beverages be avoided.
"Mynah birds may occasionally enjoy pinky mice or insects such as mealworms, wax worms, crickets and other insects."
Does my mynah bird need extra vitamins, minerals or amino acids?
Your veterinarian can help you assess your bird's diet and its particular needs. One opinion suggests that a bird eating 75 - 80% of its diet in the form of pelleted food may not need supplements. Specific vitamins or minerals may be more important at various times during a bird's life (e.g., egg laying requires calcium supplementation). Calcium supplements are available if your mynah bird is determined to be deficient.
"Mix these products in water or preferably apply directly onto moist food."
If a supplement is recommended by your veterinarian, powdered supplements, such as Nekton-S® (by Nekton-Produkte), Quiko® or Prime® (by Hagen), are often regarded as more stable. Mix these products in water or preferably apply directly onto moist food. Placing these powders on seeds or dried foods is of little value since it will ultimately end up on the bottom of the food dish and not in the bird.
Does my bird need gravel or grit?
Controversy exists over the need for gravel. It was believed that grit was necessary for the mechanical breakdown of food in the gizzard as an aid to digestion. However, we now know that birds do fine without grit. Some birds will in fact have problems if grit is over eaten.
What pointers should I remember about feeding my mynah bird?
-Always monitor the amount of food eaten every day by each bird.
-Offer fresh water every day.
-Offer a variety of fresh foods every day.
-Offer fresh fruits and vegetables every day
-Clean all food and water dishes daily.
-No to a food item one day does not mean no forever - KEEP TRYING!
Some suggested food items include:
*apple cherries (not the pit) *pear
apricots Chinese vegetables (bok choy) peas
asparagus coconut peppers (red/green & hot)
*banana corn *pineapple
beans (cooked) such as:cucumber *plum
chick peas dandelion leavespomegranate
kidney *dates *potato (boiled)
lentil sendive pumpkin
lima* fig* raisins (soaked overnight)
mung* grapesrasp berry
navy grape fruitrice (brown)
soy kaleromaine lettuce
beet kiwi spinach
blueberry melons sprouted seeds
broccoli mango squash
brussel sprouts nectarines strawberry
cabbage *orange sweet potato
cantaloupe papaya tomato
carrot parsnip *watermelon
carrot tops peaches zucchini
* foods with lower iron for a mynah bird.
How to Care for Mynah Birds :
Mynah birds are distinctive looking and very sociable soft-bill birds capable of making a variety of melodious sounds. These are one of the best "talkers" among birds. Some of these birds can become quite loud; therefore, they are not recommended for people who live in apartments, or anyone else who prefers a quiet environment. The rarer Mynah birds are banned from being taken from the wild, but the common Mynah is considered pest species in non-native countries. For effective care of these special birds, you should know all important information about these birds.
1- Setting up the cage :
Provide the best quality cages and accessories for the Mynah bird. The cage should provide easy access for cleaning as well as room for privacy. The ideal cage size for these birds should be 36” long by 36” wide by 48” high, and bar spacing should be ½”. In most cases, more spacious cages are preferable for the birds.
2- Setting up the cage :
3- Providing basics :
- Feed the birds easy-to-swallow food. Mynahs are omnivorous birds. They would naturally eat a huge variety of fruits as well as insects, larva, lizards, amphibians, small snakes, eggs, baby birds, baby rodents and scavenge for garbage occasionally. They do not chew/bite their food into pieces like parrots do; therefore, it is important that food is presented in bite size pieces.
- Ensure exercise needs. Mynah birds that are hand fed and socialized since their birth can be let out of their cages to fly around in the room. However, keep in mind that these are not a hands-on bird and can’t be handled like parrots.
- Allow the birds to groom. Mynah birds require bathing facilities on a daily basis. This facility can be as simple as just placing a shallow dish with water inside the cage of the birds. Make sure to change the water of dish on regular basis, as the droppings will likely mingle in with the dish water throughout the day.
4 - Providing enrichment and socialization
- Provide playthings and interaction. Make arrangements for toys and other playful things for the birds. Mynah birds enjoy toys as well as interacting with their owners. These are highly sociable birds, hence need daily contact with their people. Mynah birds become so attached to their owners that they like to sit on the shoulder of their human friend and love to preen his/her hair.
- Consider training. Try begin training at an early age. Mynah birds are more easily trained when these are hand fed from birth. These birds mimic what people say or what they whistle. If you whistle, these birds may decide to whistle instead of talking.
by Otto Von Frisch (Author)
Mynah birds Breeding :
Common Mynas mate for life. During the breeding season there is usually considerable competition for nesting sites. Favoured locations are in the walls and ceilings of buildings, making these birds a nuisance to humans. Nests are also placed in tree hollows, which are used by native birds. Nests are quite messy and consist of a variety of materials. Leaves, grasses, feathers and assorted items of rubbish are common materials.
Violent battles often erupt between occupants of nesting sites and the couple that wish to evict them. Each partner grapples with its opposite number and contestants drop to the ground secured in each other's claws. Bills are jabbed ruthlessly at the opponent. Finally, the defeated couple leaves to search for another site.
Recommended Websites :
Further Reading :
by Martin Weil
by Rosemary Low
by Earl Schneider