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Welcome to Birdata 30 October 2014

Common Myna: A Major Problem

Nicholas Day

One of the most readily recognized birds in urban areas of eastern Australia, the Common Myna is also increasingly becoming familiar to people who live in rural areas of the eastern seaboard. Initially introduced to Australia from Asia in 1863 to combat agricultural pests, Mynas were slow to expand their range at first, so, over the following decade, over 100 more were introduced. They were even protected by law! They eventually spread out into rural areas, where they have thrived in paddocks and along roadsides.

These days their numbers are so large that at favoured roosting sites, such as trees or exposed rafters in open buildings, the chorus of raucous calling by thousands of birds can be deafening, and audible from hundreds of metres away, and the accumulation of dropping at these sites is a major health hazard. For many other species of birds, however, their presence is a more a matter of life and death. Mynas nest in hollows, and are extremely aggressive once they have chosen a suitable nest-site. If other hollow-nesting birds such as parrots or kingfishers are already nesting there, the Mynas simply build their nest on top of the existing nest, smothering any chicks or eggs in the process; or they may evict the eggs or chicks of the other bird, tossing them onto the ground below. In areas where there is a shortage of suitable nesting hollows, this is a major problem.

The accompanying Atlas map illustrates how Common Mynas have expanded their range in the Gippsland region of eastern Victoria, via major arterial roads. Having arrived at Traralgon by the 1940s and Sale by the late 1960s, the species was first recorded further east at Bairnsdale in the early 1990s, and has continued to head eastward along the Princes Highway to Lakes Entrance and beyond, and is also heading north-east along the Omeo Highway towards Bruthen. Similar expansions in the range of this species are also currently being recorded in New South Wales and Queensland.

If you want to discover more information about this species or any other birds that occur in Australia, just follow this link and you can explore BirdLife Australia's Atlas of Australian Birds.

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