Myna: The Versatile and Vocal Songbird


Myna: The Versatile and Vocal Songbird

Mynas are a group of passerine birds known for their adaptability, vocal abilities, and striking plumage. Belonging to the Sturnidae family, which also includes starlings, mynas are found in a variety of habitats around the world. These birds are not only admired for their beauty but also for their intelligence and mimicking capabilities, making them a favorite among bird enthusiasts.

Amazing Fact:

They are exceptional mimics and can imitate a wide range of sounds, including human speech. The Hill Myna, in particular, is renowned for its ability to learn and reproduce words and phrases with remarkable clarity.


They are highly adaptable and can thrive in diverse environments, including forests, grasslands, urban areas, and agricultural fields. They are omnivorous, feeding on fruits, seeds, insects, and small animals. Their varied diet and adaptability to human-altered landscapes contribute to their success in a wide range of habitats.


They are medium-sized birds with robust bodies and strong legs. Their plumage varies by species but often features a combination of browns, blacks, whites, and yellows. Many species have distinctive eye markings or wattles. The Common Myna, for example, has a brown body, black hooded head, and bright yellow eye patches and legs.


– Common Mena (Acridotheres tristis)

– Hill Mena (Gracula religiosa)

– Bank Mena (Acridotheres ginginianus)

– Jungle Mena (Acridotheres fuscus)

– Bali Mena (Leucopsar rothschildi)

– Crested Mena (Acridotheres cristatellus)


They are native to Asia, particularly South and Southeast Asia. However, due to their adaptability, they have been introduced to many other parts of the world, including Australia, the Middle East, and various Pacific islands, where they have established significant populations.

Predator & Threat:

While they are adept at avoiding predators, they can fall prey to birds of prey, Snakes, and mammals. In urban areas, domestic Cats and Dogs can also pose a threat. Additionally, mynas face challenges from habitat destruction and competition with other bird species, particularly in regions where they have been introduced.


They are generally monogamous and form strong pair bonds. During the breeding season, they engage in courtship displays, which may include vocalizations, bowing, and feeding each other. Both parents participate in nest building, incubating eggs, and caring for the chicks. They often nest in cavities, such as tree holes, buildings, and nest boxes.

How They Communicate:

They are highly vocal birds with a wide range of calls and songs used for communication. They can produce melodious songs, harsh calls, and mimic sounds from their environment, including human speech. Their vocal repertoire is used for various purposes, such as attracting mates, defending territory, and alerting others to danger.

Movies on Mynas:

They have featured in several films and documentaries, often highlighting their vocal abilities and intelligence. Notable examples include:

“Satyajit Ray’s Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne” (1969) – Features a talking myna as a significant character.

“The Big Year” (2011) – A comedy film where birdwatchers spot various bird species, including mynas.

How It Is Pronounced in Different Languages:

  • – English: Mena
  • – Spanish: Miná
  • – French: Mainate
  • – German: Mena
  • – Mandarin Chinese: 八哥 (Bāgē)
  • – Hindi: मैना (Maina)


1. Why are mynas good mimics?

– They have a complex vocal apparatus that allows them to produce a wide range of sounds. Their intelligence and social nature make them keen learners, able to mimic human speech and other environmental noises effectively.

2. What do they eat?

– They are omnivorous and have a varied diet that includes fruits, seeds, insects, small animals, and human food scraps. This dietary flexibility helps them thrive in diverse environments.

3. How long do mynas live?

– In the wild, they typically live around 4-8 years, but they can live up to 15-20 years in captivity with proper care.

4. Are they considered pests?

– In some regions, particularly where they have been introduced, they are considered pests due to their aggressive behavior towards native birds and their tendency to thrive in urban environments, sometimes causing damage to crops and infrastructure.

5. Can mynas be kept as pets?

– Yes, they can be kept as pets, particularly species like the Hill Myna, which is known for its ability to mimic human speech. However, they require significant attention, mental stimulation, and proper care to thrive in captivity.

6. Do mynas migrate?

– While many species are sedentary, some may undertake short migrations or local movements in response to food availability and seasonal changes. Their migratory behavior varies depending on the species and geographic location.

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