The native habitat of the Indian Myna (also known as the Indian Mynah or Common Myna) is South East Asia.
In the 1860's, Indian Mynas were introduced to Australia to control insects and pests in Melbourne market gardens and cane beetles in far north Queensland.
From these early release points and other later ones, Indian Myna populations rapidly established along the East Coast of Australia and are now listed as one of the world's 100 worst invasive species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They are suspected of evicting animals and birds from their nests; of attacking chicks of other species and breeding in tree hollows rendering them unusable by other wildlife.
Don't confuse them with native birds
The Indian Myna is a member of the starling family and is often confused with the noisy miner, a native honeyeater. Both birds have a yellow eyepatch, are often found in big groups in residential areas and will eat human food scraps.
Here's how to tell them apart:
The Noisy Miner is a honeyeater, most often seen feeding on the nectar of native plants. It is aggressive enough to frighten away cats and other predators but timid enough to be frightened of humans. It is an Australian native and is therefore protected.
Where do Indian Mynas live and what do they eat?
Indian Mynas are non-migratory, however resident populations are highly mobile and display local seasonal movements between known habitats. Although Indian Mynas are originally mostly insectivores, they have a very generalist diet and can feed on food scraps, pet food, garden seedlings and fruit.
Mainly an urban species, Indian Mynas are very common in residential areas, favouring open grassy areas and rarely venturing into closed canopy forests. Indian 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 are also prime scavenging areas.
What can you do to help?
- Indian Mynas thrive where there is easy access to food
- Whether you are at home or in a public area, put your garbage in the appropriate bins and do not leave food scraps outside. Food scraps are a major food source for Mynas.
- Seed for native birds will attract Indian Mynas. If you see Indian Mynas at your bird feeder or in your garden, stop putting out birdseen immediately.
- Pet food is a major source of food for Mynas in residential areas. Try to feed pets inside or take the bowl back inside after they have finished. Alternatively, youn might be able to find feeders that only your pet can access.
- Feed chickens and ducks in a secure pen so Mynas can't get to the food.
- If you feed goats or horses, clean up spilled or leftover pellets or grain.
2. Indian Mynas nest in tree hollows, roofs, exotic trees and dead fronds of palms. Try to deny Mynas breeding opportunities.
- Block holes in roofs and eaves.
- Keep palms well trimmed.
- If you have an Indian Myna nest in your roof, gutters or garden, you should destroy it before the eggs hatch. Put the nest in a garbage bag in your garbage bin and use gloves.
- Avoid planting trees with dense foliage, such as pencil pines and palm trees, in which Mynas will roost at night.
3. Plant native species
Plant native species (particularly shrubs) in the garden and reduce open space (lawns).