Common myna: animal pest alert

Page last updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2018 - 2:05pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Distribution

The common myna is well-known throughout its natural range. It occurs in central Asia from Iran and Afghanistan through the Indian sub-continent and Sri Lanka to southern China and South-East Asia as far south as Singapore.

Introduced populations occur worldwide in; France, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, the Caucasus region, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, the United States (Florida), South Africa, Madagascar, Sumatra, Brunei, and the islands of Hong Kong, Seychelles, Maldives, Laccadive, Vanuatu, Hawaii, Fiji and the North Island of New Zealand.

The common myna was deliberately introduced to eastern Australia in the 1860s with some birds being moved to new areas in an attempt to control insect pests. The species is now well-established in many urban and rural centres of southern and central Victoria, eastern New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and north-eastern and south-eastern Queensland. The common myna is increasing its range, spreading out from established populations. It is also occasionally found elsewhere in the country.

Habitat

The common myna prefers modified habitats including urban areas and open country near human settlement, roadside vegetation and agricultural land, indicating that it gains some benefit from associating with people. Occasionally it colonises areas away from people such as open forests and forest edges, flood plains, coastal areas and offshore islands, but usually in low numbers.

Reproduction, food and behaviour

The common myna usually nests in tree hollows which could otherwise be used by native animals. However, in the absence of suitable tree hollows it will use holes or cavities under roofs, in walls, light fittings, nest boxes and occasionally in cliff hollows and thick vegetation.

The common myna is an adaptable, omnivorous scavenger, feeding on fruits, grains, nectar, insects, young birds and eggs. It takes food from rubbish bins and is often seen sorting through leaf litter in parks and gardens, at picnic areas, train stations and on roads in search of food.

This myna gathers at dusk forming noisy, squabbling groups at communal roosts in dense foliage such as palms and pines. Sometimes several thousand birds may gather, though smaller roosts of 40–80 birds are more typical in Australia. It often roosts with common starlings and house sparrows.

The common myna remains in the same area throughout the year, but it can travel up to 12km between roost and feeding areas. It is often seen in pairs, parties or small flocks and spends a lot of time feeding on the ground. Individuals in the wild have been recorded living for seven years and possibly up to 12 years.

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080