Damage by the common myna
The species is listed by the IUCN (World Conservation Union) as one of 100 of the world’s worst invasive alien species alongside common starlings, red foxes and cane toads. It is a moderate pest of agriculture causing damage to orchard fruits such as fig, apple, pear, strawberry, guava, mango and grape. It also damages standing cereal crops including maize, wheat and rice.
In several countries it is considered an environmental pest and is reported to eat eggs and young birds and mammals including endangered species. The common myna aggressively competes for nest hollows and food, adversely affecting the breeding success of other birds and hollow-nesting mammals. It has been observed attacking terns on islands and taking the eggs of other seabirds, possibly interfering with those birds’ breeding and general behaviour. The common myna is also known to spread avian malaria to other birds.
The species is a major disperser of seeds from the pest plant lantana and is suspected of spreading other environmental weed seeds such as olive.
It has the potential to transmit diseases to humans and can carry blood-borne parasites like plasmodium that causes malaria, as well as other parasites such as mites, roundworm and threadworm. Mites from common myna nests built in urban dwellings can invade homes and cause dermatitis and allergies in susceptible people.
In Australia programs involving community groups and government authorities have been developed to reduce common myna populations or damage. These programs have often been carried out in response to public concerns about the negative effects of the common myna on native birds. A variety of lethal and non-lethal methods have been used including; shooting and scaring with firearms, baiting, trapping, chemical and sound repellents, habitat and nest box modification.
Potential to be a pest in Australia
A scientific risk assessment conducted by the Department of Agriculture and Food in Western Australia and endorsed by the national Invasive Plants and Animals Committee indicates that the common myna poses an extreme threat (the highest of four categories) to Australia. Part of the assessment showed that the climates of the common myna’s overseas range and Australia are very similar.
It is therefore important to prevent birds from establishing in new areas. New populations would pose risks to hollow-nesting mammals and birds as well as native corvids (crows and ravens), magpies, pigeons and doves. Many agricultural crops could be at risk from damage by the common myna and it could also add to the nuisance already caused in urban areas by other birds.
Birds in the wild
The common myna is prohibited in South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia. Movement of the common myna to other areas can occur via shipping and road transport and/or possibly intentional release, and as a result it has been found most recently in Adelaide, South Australia; Launceston and Devonport, Tasmania; and Perth, Western Australia.
To help prevent the common myna from establishing new populations and spreading in Australia it is essential to immediately report sightings of it in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. In other states where it already occurs it should be reported if seen in new areas of the state. Reports should be made to the nearest relevant government department or wildlife authority.
Declared pest category
The Western Australian Organism List (WAOL) contains information on the area(s) in which this pest is declared and the control and keeping categories to which it has been assigned in Western Australia. Use the links on this page to reach common myna in WAOL.