The Indian myna (Acridotheres tristis) belongs to the Starling family; a group of birds which includes another invasive species, the Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris).
The Indian Myna was introduced to Australia from southern Asia in the 1860's as a biological control agent. Birds were released in Melbourne to control insect pests in market gardens and also in Cairns to control the Cane Beetle. From these points, they rapidly established along the eastern coast of Australia, including Tasmania and are spreading to other parts of the country, with recent sightings in Darwin, Adelaide and Perth.
Indian Myna birds are commonly found in urban environments. They often congregate around shopping centres, schools and picnic areas scavenging for food. They can often be seen perched on power lines and roof tops and in open grassy areas where they hunt for insects and worms. They frequent backyard gardens to exploit left over pet food. Mynas also thrive in rural landscapes where agricultural activities provide them with a range of habitats and feeding options. They often congregate near cattle farms and dairies where feedlots are readily accessible. Racing stables, piggeries and farms with poultry coops are also prime scavenging areas for Indian mynas.
If you are unsure of whether you are looking at an Indian myna or native Noisy miner, observe what the bird is feeding on. The native Noisy miner belongs to the honeyeater family of birds and can be often seen foraging for nectar on flowering shrubs. If the bird you are observing is feeding on pet food, meat scraps or stock feed, then it is more likely to be the Indian myna.
Indian Mynas are ominivorous scavengers, able to utilise a wide range of food types including insects, meat, fruits, vegetables, pet food and stock feed. They favour open grassy areas, rarely venturing into closed canopy forests. At night they gather to sleep in communal roosts under bridges, in large dense trees, or empty buildings.
The Myna's behaviour is seasonal. They form breeding pairs from September to March and can raise multiple clutches per year, with 4-5 chicks per clutch. After March, the Mynas join larger groups and move to communal roosts where they can number in the hundreds. They split up in the mornings, travelling in small family groups to look for food and often visit regular feeding sites.
Indian mynas are non-migratory, however resident populations are highly mobile and display local seasonal movements between known habitats.
Indian Mynas are a highly invasive species and have become a serious problem in both urban and rural landscapes. They are opportunists, able to adapt to a range of conditions and to exploit a wide variety of different food types. Indian mynas were recently ranked third on the “List of the World's 100 Most Invasive Species” by the World Consevation Union. Their impacts include:
The Indian Myna Control Project is a joining of two community driven projects funded by the NSW Environmental Trust covering the Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Nambucca Local Government Areas and the Hastings and Macleay LGA’s. The projects seek to reduce the impacts of the growing Indian myna invasion in our urban and rural environments. The web site provides you with background information on this feral species and how you can participate in the population reduction program. You'll find all the latest news on Indian mynas, as well as details of up-coming events and activities in your local area.
The main objectives of the project
The project area covers the Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Nambucca LGA's. In co-operation with participating Councils, the project is supported by the three corresponding Landcare organisations, as well as the National Parks and Wildlife Service (Department of Environment & Climate Change) and the Ulitarra Conservation Society.
Indian Myan Control useful links