Species group: Starlings and Mynahs
Other common names: Common Myna
Scientific name: Acridotheres tristis
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.)
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
Pollie, the talking mynah.
I have kept many bird species over the years, but my all-time favorite, even more so than all the budgerigars named Bob, I have had, must be Pollie, a mynah that I raised from the moment it hatched.
Pollie's parents were two mynahs that lived under the eaves of my barn, which was a little strange, since mynahs are known to build their nests in the most impossible places, but not these two- they built a nest where anybody could reach up and touch it. Nonetheless, these two birds must raised a few dozen chicks in the time they lived on my property, until one day when they disappeared- never to return.
A few days after their departure, I checked the nest for no particular reason I can remember, and it was then that I found the egg, which instead of discarding, I placed in an incubator that I use for my zebra finches to see what might happen, and as luck would have it, the egg hatched after three days- and there was Pollie. Of course, she was not named Pollie on the spot; that came later, but my main concern was not to let the baby bird die- which thinking back on it, was easier said than done. After all, I have hand-reared hundreds of little zebra finches, so why not a mynah? If only I knew what I was letting myself in for!
My next door neighbor but one, is a vet, and strongly advised against the attempt to raise a mynah by hand, but added that if there was no other way, I might try baby cereal mixed with distilled water. So, off to the supermarket, but within minutes of the first feeding of cereal on the tip of a toothpick, the little bird developed severe diarrhea, so off I went to my friend the vet. This time he suggested I stop feeding the bird altogether and let nature take its course, but he knew I would not do that, so he kept the bird in his clinic overnight- for "observation".
However, the next morning, the little bird was still alive (against all expectations), so I tried feeding it again, but with a different brand of cereal, which, again against all expectations, worked. There was no more diarrhea, but as the hours and days went by, the little bird demanded more and more food, until I had to feed it at least three times every hour. Having never had children of my own, I never quite understood why parents of new born babies complained of lack of sleep, but my experience with Pollie as a fledgling soon convinced me of the validity of their complaints.
After three weeks or so, I was ragged from exhaustion, but just as I was ready to donate my baby to a local rescue organization, I decided to see if it would eat on its own, and to my astonishment, it gulped down a small earthworm I dug out from a nearby potted plant. My battle was won. From that day, Pollie became a constant companion: where ever I went, I took her along and on the way I caught small crickets, dug up earthworms, and snared small grasshoppers, none of which could satiate her, although the grew at a rapid pace.
Of course, up to that moment she had never been in a cage, and I just could not bring myself to put her in one. So, the result was that Pollie, as she had become known (for reasons that are still not clear), had the run of the house. At first, it was something of a problem to keep her off tables and counter tops, but my friend the vet suggested I nail beer bottle tops along the top edges of the doors, and mynahs being collectors of shiny baubles, Pollie took up residence on the top edge of the kitchen door. The cats of course, at first took a measure of offense at Pollie's presence, but being pampered, and slightly lazy, they soon let her be, and up to the day she died, Pollie had three excellent companions in the cats; they even allowed her to eat with them from their dishes- at the same time.
Pollie's story is too long to fully recount here, but suffice to say she learned to talk, mimic the telphone, imitate the cats, and taunt the doorbell. In fact, it was sometimes impossible to tell if the cats were calling me, or if there was really somebody at the door, and at times it would drive me crazy getting the door- and not finding anybody. Same with the telephone; it would ring in the middle of the night- only it was not the phone, it was Pollie playing tricks on me.
Pollie became a constant in my life; she was always there. At time she would drive me crazy, but then she would always amuse me by playing roll-over on the carpet. She could keep this up for hours; she would play dead, and as soon as either myself or a cat would come to investigate, she would start rolling over, and over, and over until she hit something- then she would just roll over in another direction until she hit something else again. Or she would ride on my shoulder, and then refuse to get off again- any attempt to dislodge her would fetch me sharp nip, so I learned to ignore her until she fell asleep on my shoulder, which she invariably did after a while.
Then one day, Pollie would not come down from her door, and thinking she was sulking about something again, I left her to her own devices for the morning. Returning at lunch time, I found her lying on the floor, but that time she would not play rollover- she was dead. My friend the vet guessed that she caught a cold that had developed into pneumonia, which members of the starling family are apparently particularly susceptible to, but whatever the actual cause of her death, she is still sorely missed.
Would I recommend mynah birds as pets? Probably not- and especially not for people who cannot spend suffient time with the bird. Feeding a mynah is easy- they eat just about anything, but they are extremely intelligent, and without suitable stimulation, a mynah could very easily become destructive. If you cannot provide constant companionship and attention, you might find that you cannot control the bird, which would be a shame because birds as intelligent and sociable as mynahs should never be caged.
In my admittedly biased opinion, If you cannot control a mynah outside of a cage, you will break its spirit inside a cage. For this reason then, I would not recommend a mynah bird as a pet unless you are prepared to treat it as a member of the immediate family, and allow it to live freely outside of a cage..
From reinier1 Apr 22 2015 6:55AM
An Effective Cleaner
Enzymatic stain and odor cleaners are frequently used to remove the smell of canine or feline urine from carpets, upholstery, and other surfaces. However, they also work great at lifting away bird feces if you let your bird play free in your home. Many birds, such as large parrots, can be cage broke to only potty in the confines of their birdcage. However, others go whenever the urge hits. If a bird should defecate on your carpet or furniture, then an enzymatic stain and odor cleaner is perfect. Before you spray your upholstery or carpet with the cleaner, you should always do a little spot test to make sure that the color holds. Also, look at your furniture or rug's cleaning instructions because such sprays are often not safe to use on wool. .
From KimberlySharpe 56 days ago
Not a First Bird
I've worked with a lot of birds. Blacky was one of the most challenging. I never did come to trust the bird with other people. The Mynah are smart and pick up tricks if you can get them to focus; I found Blacky to be easily distracted. The bird swore like a sailor, and the owners were hoping I could break the habit, but I told them their best bet was to resell the bird to someone who would find the swearing funny. Eventually they did. Early training is so important with these birds. Either buy a young bird, or a fairly young one that's received early training. Not a good first bird..
From BobHaynes Dec 4 2014 11:51PM