The common myna (Acridotheres tristis), sometimes spelled mynah, also sometimes known as `Indian myna` is readily identified by the brown body, black hooded head and the bare yellow patch behind the eye. The bill and legs are bright yellow. There is a white patch on the outer primaries and the wing lining on the underside is white. The sexes are similar and birds are usually seen in pairs. The common myna obeys Gloger's rule in that the birds from northwest India tend to be paler than their darker counterparts in South India.
Habitat and Distribution
The common myna is native to Asia and has been introduced in South Africa.
Like most starlings, the common myna is omnivorous. It feeds on insects, arachnids, crustaceans, reptiles, small mammals, seeds, grain 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 however feeds on a wide range of insects, mostly picked from the ground. It is a cross-pollinator of flowers such as Salmalia and Erythrina. It walks on the ground with occasional hops and is an opportunistic feeder on the insects disturbed by grazing cattle as well as fired grass fields.
Common mynas are believed to pair for life. They breed through much of the year depending on the location, building their nest in a hole in a tree or wall. They breed from sea-level to 3000 m in the Himalayas. The normal clutch size is 4?6 eggs. The average size of the egg is 30.8 x 21.99 mm. The incubation period is 17 to 18 days and fledging period is 22 to 24 days. The Asian koel is sometimes brood parasitic on this species. Nesting material used by mynas include twigs, roots, tow and rubbish. Mynas have been known to use tissue paper, tin foil and sloughed off snake-skin.
Calls and Songs
The calls includes croaks, squawks, chirps, clicks, whistles and 'growls', 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 or when its about to take off flying. Common mynas are popular as cage birds for their singing and `speaking` abilities. Before sleeping in communal roosts, mynas vocalise in unison, which is known as `communal noise`.