Indian Myna (Acridotheres tristis)

Not Wanted!Status: Indian mynas are a restricted animal under the Nature Conservation Act 2002. Importation is prohibited in Tasmania.

Risk Assessment: Pest Animal Risk Assessment: Indian myna (Invasive Plants and Animals - Biosecurity Queensland)

 


Identifying Features

Indian myna - Image by Chris Tzaros

Indian myna
Image Chris Tzaros

Indian mynas are are a medium sized bird approximately 25 cm in length (body and tail). They have a chocolate brown body, dark brown to black head, yellow bill and bare yellow skin beneath and behind the eyes. Indian mynas have dark wings with prominent white patches visible in flight and a black tail tipped with white feather. They have long yellow legs and are commonly observed 'hopping' on the ground.

Male, female and immature birds all look similar. Indian mynas forage on the ground and have a distinctive walk or strut. They are a very noisy bird and produce loud, raucous calls including scolding and chattering. Calls and chattering continue late into the night and begin before dawn.

Indian mynas should not be confused with the noisy miner, which is a native honeyeater. The native noisy miner can be identified by its grey body, and black crown and cheeks (the whole head is not black). Noisy miners have a distinctive triangular patch of yellow naked skin behind the eye, while Indian mynas have yellow beneath and behind the eye.


Vocalisations

Listen to the audio samples below and familiarise yourself with the sound of the Indian myna.



History

There were several releases of Indian mynas in Australia between 1862 and 1872. It is not known why they were originally introduced. The first recorded release was in Melbourne where 42 birds were released in 1863. In 1883, some of these mynas were taken to sugarcane-growing areas in northern Queensland, in the belief that they would help control insect pests on cane, particularly locusts and cane beetles.

By the 1950s and 1960s, Indian mynas were well established in many eastern metropolitan areas, and continued to spread throughout many regions.

Indian mynas are listed among 100 of the world's worst invaders by IUCN/SCC Invasive Species Specialist Group.


 

Distribution

Indian mynas are native to the Middle East, India and Asia. They are now considered naturalised on mainland Australia with established populations in eastern and south-eastern Australia. The Indian myna has significant potential to spread further in Australia and populations are expanding south in Queensland and westwards across western Victoria and New South Wales.

Indian mynas are most likely to be found in Tasmania near sea ports - having arrived by ship from elsewhere in Australia. Incursions have been eradicated by DPIWPE on a number of occasions since 2003.

View recorded distribution information in Natural Values Atlas
View recorded information in the Atlas of Living Australia


Environmental Impacts

Noisy Miner - Image by Chris Tzaros

Noisy Miner
Image Chris Tzaros

Indian mynas are a bird accustomed to open woodlands, but have easily adapted to urban and woodland-like areas. It competes aggressively with native wildlife for food and tree hollows, thus reducing biodiversity. It commonly attacks other nesting birds - destroying eggs and chicks.

If Indian mynas were to establish in Tasmania it could outcompete endangered native bird species like the orange-bellied parrot. It is a major nuisance in urban areas; noisy, smelly roosts and nests in wall and roof cavities and creates fire, vermin and disease hazards. The Indian myna scavenges around urban areas but also eats insects and the chicks of other birds.

Indian mynas may cause crop damage to grain, fruit and vegetable crops.


Reproduction

Indian mynas form breeding pairs from September to March. They have four to five chicks in a clutch and, once the juveniles are ready to fly, travel in small family groups. They are usually seen in groups of 2, 6 or 12.

After March, Indian mynas join larger groups and move to communal roosts. They split up in the mornings, going off in different directions to find food. These groups are usually 20 or more birds. By September, they form pairs and prepare to nest again.


Control Measures

Prompt action is vital: about 100 Indian mynas were released in Canberra in 1968; there are now more than 100 Indian mynas per km2 in Canberra.

The Tasmanian public should be on high alert for this species and report all sightings. Early detection and rapid response to incursions is vital.

Please report Indian myna sightings to the Invasive Species Branch on 1300 369 688 or by email to: invasivespecies@dpipwe.tas.gov.au


 

Did you know?

Indian mynas are kept as pets in some countries, including the United States and Australia due to their intelligence and ability to mimic human speech.


 

Further information

For information on Indian mynas in Tasmania, contact the Invasive Species Branch on 03 6777 2200 or by email to: invasivespecies@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

The PestSmart Toolkit provides information and guidance on best-practice invasive animal management on several key vertebrate pest species including rabbits, foxes, feral pigs and feral cats.


Download the Indian myna factsheet:


See also:

Rainbow lorikeet

See other invasive species:

Mammals | Freshwater species | Other species

Contact

Invasive Species Enquiries
Invasive Species Branch
165 Westbury Road
PROSPECT TAS 7250
Phone: 03 6777 2200
Fax: 03 6336 5453
Email: invasivespecies@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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