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Mynas

Mynas or Mynahs

The mynas (or mynahs) are birds of the starling family (Sturnidae). This is a group of passerine birds which occur naturally only in southern and eastern Asia. Several species have been introduced to areas like North America, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, especially the Common Myna which is often regarded as an invasive species.

Mynas Perched on the Stone
Mynas Perched on the Stone

Mynas are not a natural group (Zuccon et al. 2006); instead, the term myna is used for any starling in India and surrounding areas, regardless of their relationships. This range was colonized twice during the evolution of starlings, first by rather ancestral starlings related to the Coleto and Aplonis lineages, and millions of years later by birds related to the Common Starling and Wattled Starling‘s ancestors.

These two groups of mynas can be distinguished in the more terrestrial adaptions of the latter, which usually also have less glossy plumage except on the heads and longer tails. The Bali Myna which is nearly extinct in the wild is highly distinctive.

Characteristics

Mynas are medium-sized passerines with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Several species live around habitation, and are effectively omnivores.

Plumage is typically dark, often brown, although some species have yellow head ornaments. Most species nest in holes.

Some species have become well-known for their imitative skills.

Common Myna on the Grass
Common Myna on the Grass

Species

The following are species of Mynas. The Coleto and the two Saroglossa starlings are included because of their position in the taxonomic list.

Jungle and hill mynas

  • Yellow-faced Myna, Mino dumontii
  • Golden Myna, Mino anais
  • Long-tailed Myna, Mino kreffti
  • Sulawesi Myna, Basilornis celebensis
  • Helmeted Myna, Basilornis galeatus: Endemic to Indonesia
  • Long-crested Myna, Basilornis corythaix
  • Apo Myna, Basilornis miranda
  • White-necked Myna, Streptocitta albicollis
  • Bare-eyed Myna, Streptocitta albertinae
  • Fiery-browed Myna, Enodes erythrophris
  • Finch-billed Myna, Scissirostrum dubium
  • Golden-crested Myna, Ampeliceps coronatus
  • Hill Myna, Gracula religiosa
  • Southern Hill Myna, Gracula indica
  • Enggano Myna, Gracula enganensis
  • Nias Myna, Gracula robusta
  • Sri Lanka Myna, Gracula ptilogenys
Bali Myna Finding Food
Bali Myna Finding Food

 

“True” mynas

  • White-vented Myna, Acridotheres grandis
  • Crested Myna, Acridotheres cristatellus
  • Javan Myna, Acridotheres javanicus
  • Pale-bellied Myna, Acridotheres cinereus
  • Jungle Myna, Acridotheres fuscus
  • Collared Myna, Acridotheres albocinctus
  • Bank Myna, Acridotheres ginginianus
  • Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis
  • Bali Myna, Leucopsar rothschildi

The following species are often included in the Acridotheres mynas:

  • Vinous-breasted Starling, Acridotheres burmannicus
  • Asian Pied Starling, Sturnus contra
  • Black-winged Starling, Sturnus melanopterus
  • Red-billed Starling, Sturnus sericeus
  • White-cheeked Starling, Sturnus cineraceus

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