The mynah is a type of starling which is a member of the Sturnidae family. Many species of mynah are native to Southeast Asia. They have robust bodies and strong legs and feet for perching and walking. They tend to roost in large, loud flocks at dusk. Hill mynahs who are hand raised by humans learn to mimic human speech very well.
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Hill mynahs are divided into 12 subspecies, including the Ceylon hill mynah, the lesser hill mynah, the Andaman hill mynah and the enggano hill mynah. The Java hill mynah and the greater Indian hill mynah are the most popular subspecies. The plumage is glossy black and all have bright yellow wattles, though wattle patterns vary. There's a white bar on the wings. They have orange beaks, sometimes shading to red, and yellow legs and feet. Hill mynahs are famous for their ability to speak and to learn words rapidly. In the wild they chatter constantly and nest near water in forests in large groups in southern Asia and Indonesia. The hen lays two to three eggs per clutch, which both parents incubate for 13 to 17 days. The young leave the nest after about a month, and a month after that they're independent. Hill mynahs eat fruit and insects and the occasional small lizard or small mammal, which they will regurgitate to feed to their chicks.
Rothschild's mynah, or the Bali mynah, is the only species in the Leucopsar genus. It's a stocky white bird about 10 inches long, with a crest of long feathers that is usually kept lowered. However, during courtship the male raises these feathers and does a head-bobbing courtship dance. The nest is a cup built in a tree hole. Like other mynahs and starlings, the Rothschild's is gregarious. It lives in Bali and Indonesia but due to destruction of its habitat it's very close to extinction.
Several species make up the Acridotheres genus, including the common mynah, the bank mynah, the jungle mynah, the Javan mynah and the crested mynah. Like so many other starlings, these birds have learnt to live in towns and villages. Flocks of mynahs forage in open places for fruit, seeds, insects, worms and food discarded by humans. At dusk the flocks gather noisily together in the trees. The common mynah can be found from Iran to Southeast Asia and has been introduced in Arabia, Africa, Australasia and some Pacific islands. It's brown with a white wing patch and a patch of orange beside the eye as well as an orange bill and legs. Its feet are large and strong for walking. In some places it's considered invasive. The bank mynah is similar to the common mynah but has greyer body plumage, though the head and some of the wing is black.
Streptocitta contains the bare-eyed mynah, which lives in the forests of Sulawesi in Indonesia, the white necked mynah and its two subspecies, the southern and the northern white necked mynah. The white necked mynah also lives in the tropical forests and lowland areas of Sulawesi, and has a beautiful long tail with a tapering tip that helps it retain balance as it flies. The bare-eyed mynah has black around its eye, black wings, a long tapering black tail and a pure white body and head. Streptocitta members also form loud raucous flocks that move from place to place in search of food, which is mostly fruit.
The yellow faced or Papuan mynah is distinctive for the bare yellow skin around its eye and is native to New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands. It's mostly black, but when it flies you can see its white rump, tail coverts and wing patches. The gold-breasted mynah has a golden neck and chest and a gold patch on the rump. It lives in the forests and lowlands of Papua, New Guinea. The yellow faced and gold-breasted mynah, both members of the genus Mino, roam around in couples or small noisy groups during the day. At dusk they gather in great flocks to roost. During the breeding season yellow faced pairs are often helped in rearing their chicks, usually by last year's chicks. The nest is bowl shaped and made of twigs, leaves and dried stems built in a tree cavity. Another species in the genus Mino is the long-tailed mynah.
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- "Eyewitness Handbooks: Birds of the World"; Mark Robbins; 1993
- "Simon and Schusters Guide to Pet Birds"; Matthew M. Vriends; 1984
- Animal Diversity Website; Acridotheres tristis; Tiffany Lin; 2007
- Swedish Museum of Natural History: Phylogenetic Relationships among Alearctic-Oriental Starlings and Mynahs ...; Dario Zuccon et al.; 2007
- World Bird Info; Sturnidae; Starlings