COMMON MYNAH (Acridotheres tristis) – Introduced
DESCRIPTION: The Common mynah is mostly brown with a black head, with a yellow bill and yellow legs, and a yellow bar under and behind the eye. When searching for food on the ground, this bird hops while walking. The bird measures around 9 inches long (22 cm). Both sexes are similar. The bird will sing while preening (see video below).
NAME: Mynahs are part of the same family (Sturnidae) as the starlings. The English name is from Indian and refers to any starling of the Indian subcontinent. The Latin name is from ancient Greek and means ‘locust’ (akridos) and ‘hunter’ (theras); as for ‘tristis’, which means ‘sad’ in Latin, it is rather a misnomer as this bird sings well, and not sad tunes.
HABITAT: Common mynahs are widespread on the islands of Hawaii
DIET: This bird is omnivorous and will feed on insects, fruit, small reptiles and even carrion.
ROOSTING: Common mynahs are very ‘talkative’, and this keeps going on at night when they roost by the hundreds in large trees before finally falling silent (hear video below right in the middle of Waikiki).
Management on those high-rise condos are regularly pruning (photo below) those trees to prevent the birds from roosting there as it can be annoying for the residents.
DISTRIBUTION: Native to India, this species is now spreading at such a pace that it is now listed as one of the worst species to threaten biodiversity and agriculture.
CONSERVATION: The common mynah is considered as an ‘invasive’ and a ‘nuisance’ species for its facility at occupying new territory where introduced, damaging buildings where it nests, and displacing native bird species.
NOTES: The common mynah (or common myna or Indian mynah) has been introduced on Hawaii from the Indian subcontinent around 1865 to control insect pests and since then has very well adapted to its new environment.
The common mynah has a peculiar gait. Adding this to the yellow bar behind the eye gives it a unique look:
Common mynahs will sing while preening:
Hear the calls (communal noise) of hundreds of common mynahs roosting in trees by a high-rise condo in Waikiki after sunset:
Following a rain, water collects in puddles on lawns, becoming a great source of drinking and bathing water for birds: