It is also known as the Asian Pied Starling. This myna is strikingly marked in black and white and has a yellowish bill with a reddish bill base. The bare skin around the eye is reddish. The upper body, throat and breast are black while the cheek, lores, wing coverts and rump are contrastingly white. The sexes are similar in plumage but young birds have dark brown in place of black. The subspecies vary slightly in plumage, extent of streaking of the feathers and in measurements.

Habitat and Distribution

They are found in foothills up to about 700m above sea level and in areas with access to open water. Their main distribution in India is in the Gangetic plains but extending south to the Krishna River. Their range is increasing, more recently in Pakistan,Rajkot and Bombay (since 1953) possibly aided by trade in caged birds and accidental escape. They have spread westward into Rajasthan(India) and Sumatra. The species is often seen in sewage farms and refuse tips.


They forage in fields, lawns and on open ground feeding on grains, fruit, insects, earthworms and molluscs. The birds use a prying or gaping action, piercing soil and then opening apart the bill to dislodge hidden food.


The breeding season in India is spread from March to September. The nest is a loose mass of straw formed into a dome with an entrance on the side and placed in a large tree. They lay four to six glossy blue eggs. The eggs hatch after 14 to 15 days.

Calls and Songs

Both sexes sing. Their call includes whistles, trills, buzzes, clicks, and warbling calls.