Common Mynah

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Is the Common Mynah right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Common Myna

Scientific name: Acridotheres tristis

The basics:
The small but aggressive Common Mynah is a known invasive species that has colonized areas as diverse as Madagascar, Australia, and many more. Before you attempt to hold this bird, check with your local wildlife authorities to be sure that it's legal to keep in your region. Its territorial boldness often allows it to seize and hold natural nest cavities that would otherwise be available for native birds.

This talented species can learn how to speak if exposed to human language at a very early age, although many authorities believe it isn't quite as gifted as the Indian Hill Mynah. Be warned: An adult bird probably can't learn to speak or to sing songs it never heard in its youth.

Like other mynahs, captive Common Mynahs may be susceptible to iron storage disease, forcing you to take exceptional care with its diet to help prolong its life.

A smallish blackish-brown mynah with flashing white wing patches. The bare bright yellow skin around its eyes draws attention to its alert face.

110 - 138 grams (4 - 5 oz.)

Average size:
23 - 26 centimeters (9 - 10 in.)

10 - 15 years

Behavior / temperament:
Common Mynahs tend to be fearless and highly territorial birds. They have been reported to kill other birds in mixed-species aviaries, especially in the breeding season. They must be trained very early if you expect them to learn how to speak.

The Common Mynah is an omnivore with loose, squirtable droppings that create a real mess if you don't set up an easy-to-clean flight or aviary. These birds exercise by leaping from perch to perch or by flying, and it is cruel to confine them to a too-small cage. A minimum size for a single pet could be 24”w x 24”d x 24”h with no more than 1” bar spacing, but it's really only acceptable if you can allow your bird lots of time out of the cage. You need a den or screened porch or similar location with a cleanable floor. A longer flight in a central location, such as an easily cleaned family or rec room with quarry tile floors, would be ideal. These intelligent birds need to be at the center of family life, where they can hear and learn, especially when they're younger.

Common Mynahs must consume a specialized low-iron softbill diet to reduce their chances of developing iron-storage disease.. Most people recommend a diet that includes pellets and mixed fresh fruit salad with a smaller amount of vegetables and greens in the mix. The pellets must be a low iron specialty pellet intended specifically for mynahs, not dog biscuits or pellets intended for parrots, which may include harmful amounts of iron. Since vitamin C may increase the absorption of iron, you should also avoid feeding citrus fruit such as oranges, tangerines, or lemons. Live food such as mealworms should be a treat offered rarely.

Iron storage disease doesn't seem to occur in the wild, even though many captive birds seem to have a genetic predisposition. Wild mynahs may consume a fig naturally high in tannin, a chemical that interferes with the absorption of iron. As it happens, good old-fashioned black or orange pekoe tea – not herbal tea – is also high in tannin. Therefore, some zoos and breeders have experimented with the use of tea in the drinking water to reduce softbilled bird's ability to absorb harmful amounts of iron.

In one experiment, the keepers added just enough tea to tint the drinking water a faint shade of brown. The water with tea is offered for one month, and then the pure water is offered for another month, and so on. The bath water is offered separately, in a shallow dish for splashing. When you select your mynah, it is imperative to talk to the breeder and to a good avian vet about the very latest research into the proper diet for your pet.

Written by Elaine Radford


immediate family, constant companionship, remarkable pet


strict lowiron diet, genetic predisposition, iron storage disease, harrowing loud sound


swearing funny, swear words, early training, noisy rendition, starling family

Helpful Common Mynah Review

Common Mynah

From reinier1 Apr 22 2015 6:55AM


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