Indian (Common) Mynas

The Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) or Indian Myna as it is generally known has been described as “the flying cane toad” which is apt as their invasion is proving as rapid and devastating as the cane toad. Some areas of Sydney and Newcastle are now so dominated by Indian Mynas it is difficult to find any other bird species. Most populated areas of the Clarence Valley now have the feral Indian Mynas but there is great control work happening.

Indian Myna FB Page

The CVCIA Indian Myna group organises the distribution and management of Myna traps and data recording throughout the Clarence Valley. We operate in conjunction with and are assisted by the Clarence Valley Council. In 2012 a Commonwealth Government “Caring for our Country” grant funded an expansion to the the program.

CVCIA Volunteers Laura and Kevin are coordinating the Indian Myna Control Program and need as much help as you can provide.

Check out the What can I do? section to find out how to help, even just in your own backyard.

Enjoy our website, we hope it helps you to be informed and consider getting involved. The Indian (Common) Myna is a threat to the survival of our native wildlife. You can help make a difference.

For details on other Indian Myna group websites – click here Links to other Indian Myna Groups.

Why are Indian (or Common) Mynas such a problem?

They are a major threat to our biodiversity.

Where there is favourable habitat (this includes most Australia’s populated areas), Indian Mynas can be expected to have the following range of impacts:

  • are extremely aggressive and territorial, attacking and often killing native wildlife.
  • reduce the breeding success of many native birds.  Indian Mynas compete aggressively for nesting hollows/nesting boxes and evict native birds from nest boxes or tree hollows, and destroy eggs and kill chicks. A pair of Mynas can build nests in multiple nesting hollows without using every nest. Such behaviour probably deters other species and maintains a large breeding territory (Pell & Tidemann, 1997a).
  • also compete for tree hollows with other native wildlife such as possums, gliders and microbats. Indian Mynas can kill small mammals and remove sugar gliders from tree hollows (NSW DPI, undated; Perry, 2008).
  • out-compete natives for shelter and any food sources.
  • out-breed our native birds, often nesting three times a year with up to 6 chicks each time.
  • act as a potential reservoir for native bird diseases such as avian malaria (Caughley & Sinclair, 1994).
  • damage fruit, vegetable, and cereal crops, foul stock and poultry feed whilst consuming quantities of same.
  • spread certain weeds such as Lantana camara (DPI NSW, undated).
  • generate noise complaints in suburban areas wherever there are large communal roosts, and soil outdoor living areas and washing on clothes-lines.
  • can cause dermatitis, allergies, and asthma in people by nesting in the roofs of houses (Brisbane City Council, 2007).
  • also nests built in roofs of houses are a potential fire risk.
  • carry other avian diseases such as psittacosis and salmonellosis which can potentially impact on human health.

Indian Myna Identification

(If you prefer to watch a video, click [the link] and Laura will discuss the identification of an Indian Myna vs the native Noisy Miner.)

The Indian (or Common) Myna is a brown bird about 23-25cm tall with black head and neck; and a yellow beak, eye patch, feet and legs. Its white wing patches are obvious when they are flying. On the ground, where Mynas prefer to feed, it walks with a distinctive erect “strutting gait” rather than hops.

Indian Myna Identification (photo by Pam Kenway)

The bird most often mistaken for an Indian Myna is the Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala) a protected native.

Although the Noisy Miner and the Indian Myna both have yellow skin behind the eye and a yellow beak, you can distinguish the native Noisy Miner by its predominantly grey body and off-white chest. Noisy Miners are mainly nectar eaters so are mostly seen in flowering trees and shrubs. When on the ground, Noisys tend to hop or waddle. Whilst this bird may be noisy around the garden and can be territorial, it does not pose the same threat to other birds and animals as the Indian Myna, and the Noisy Miner is a protected species.

Noisy Miner Identification (photo by Pam Kenway)

Indian Myna call
Noisy Miner call

What can I do

You can make a big difference. The government departments and councils can only do so much – communities need to get involved and help out. And the CVCIA Landcare group is there to help coordinate and network interested people.

Things you can do to help stop the spread of the Indian Myna include:

  • Join CVCIA Landcare and network with other people interested in reducing the numbers of these birds.
  • Assist with our program as a local contact or collect trapping details once a month by contacting mynas@cvcia.com.au
  • Get involved in the trapping program by contacting mynas@cvcia.com.au
  • Around your home, there are many things you can do to discourage Indian Mynas from visiting your yard.  Populations generally occur in areas where there is a reliable food source.

Reduce available food sources:

  • Don’t leave pet food outside, feed pets indoors where possible or remove any leftovers.
  • Refrain from feeding native birds especially when Indian Mynas are around.
  • Put all food scraps in a covered bin, especially in picnic areas, school grounds and sports ovals.
  • Cover compost piles and compost bins.
  • Prevent access to poultry and stock feed.

Reduce available habitat:

  • Block holes in building roofs and eaves to stop Indian Mynas nesting.
  • Regularly check nest-boxes for Indian Mynas.
  • Destroy Indian Myna nests etc and clean out tree hollows and nest boxes thoroughly. Wear gloves when handling Mynas or their nesting materials.
  • Plant a variety of native shrubs to reduce open areas in your garden. Avoid exotic trees. Keep any dead palm fronds trimmed.
  • Make your garden a Bird Friendly Garden (pdf 432kb) or for a more detailed Bird habitat guidelines for domestic gardeners (pdf 465kb)
  • Report Indian Myna sightings in the Clarence Valley to CVCIA through the Report a Myna form or via email mynas@cvcia.com.au  or any sightings outside the Clarence Valley LGA, please report your sightings to MynaScan

Indian Mynas in Australia

Around 1862 the Indian (or Common) Myna was first introduced into Melbourne to control insects in market gardens and soon after to Sydney. In Queensland they were brought to Cairns to try to control the cane beetle. In 2011 it was estimated they had about 1,000 birds per square kilometre. A few Indian Mynas were taken to Canberra in 1969 (apparently by some well meaning retiree who thought they have a beautiful call) and since 2006-2020 Canberra Indian Myna Action Group (CIMAG) have trapped 75,000 birds. In 2008 a CIMAG survey showed that the Myna was the 3rd most prevalent bird in Canberra’s landscape and by maintaining a trapping program, the Myna has been reduced to 24th on the list (2021).

Mynas have spread across most of Eastern Australia as far west as Deniliquin, West Wyalong, Nyngan and Moree and even reported sightings in Broken Hill and Adelaide. A pair of Mynas recently stowed away on the ferry to Tasmania and another bird hitch-hiked to Perth on a truck. Their spread in the last 10 years has been devastating. The Indian Myna is listed as one of the top 100 world’s worst invasive species by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Mynas were voted “the most hated pest in Australia” on  ABC’s Wild Watch Quest for Pests in 2005.

Indian Mynas in the Clarence Valley

Indian Mynas have been spotted in nearly every locality and town in the Clarence Valley. Sightings are being mapped by the CVCIA Myna team and where ever possible traps are provided for that site.

Indian Mynas are a serious threat to our native birds and mammals, particularly those which are tree hollow dependant. We need more people out there trapping these birds and working together to reduce their numbers and assist in maintaining the balance. Please report a Myna form any large numbers of Indian Mynas seen so we can try to recognise any trends in spread and bird numbers to coordinate our trapping efforts.

Indian Myna Tallies in the Clarence Valley

For trapping details by localities see map below

Total:

17020

2021:

1534

2015:

1214

2020:

1295

2014:

1343

2019:

1885

2013:

1753

2018:

1359

2012:

2010

2017:

1470

2011:

1593

2016:

1572

Trapping results

Indian (or Common) Mynas trapped in the Clarence Valley are currently being recorded in our database and then mapped. The map shows Mynas trapped from January 2011 to now, by number and locality. Clarence Valley trappers/shooters removed over 17,000 (2021) of these pest birds previously troubling our wonderful natives. For the tallies click the box at top right of map.
Active trappers are shown in blue, ex-trappers are yellow and the darker the colour the more Indian Mynas have been trapped at that site. Click on each pointer for details at that site. To hide either group click on the box left of the map heading and un-tick the item in the drop box you do not wish to see. To zoom use +/- buttons at lower left of the map and slide screen to move your view.

The more data we have the more effective our mapping and monitoring program will be. If you are successfully trapping or shooting Mynas in the Clarence Valley, please let us know even if you are not actually involved in the CVCIA program, so we can include your successes.

To view this map in full screen mode click the box at the top right of the map display.

The beauty of the PeeGee Myna traps we use is they are non-lethal so if you trap a native you can easily release it. If you are not sure the bird you have is an Indian Myna, please check the Indian Myna Identification phone Laura on 0456 472 177 or email and we will be more than happy to advise.

Catching Indian (Common) Mynas

There are a few tricks to catching the Indian Myna bird and the CVCIA Myna team are happy to help out and discuss these techniques with you as there are definitely some DON’Ts otherwise we teach Mynas to be trap savvy. Basically, you will need a trap, we can loan you one (Clarence Valley LGA only email mynas@cvcia.com.au) or you can build your own for less than $30 (see Build a Trap), and then the choice of bait (Minced Beef – Lucky Dog Minis seems to be the best as Mynas like red), trap management and whether or not to use caller birds, will often determine how successful your trapping program is. Patience and persistence is often needed as they are CLEVER birds. Tips on trapping

The beauty of the PeeGee Myna traps is they are non-lethal so if you trap a native you can release it. If you are not sure the bird you have is an Indian Myna, please check the Indian Myna Identification or phone Laura or Kevin on 0456 472 177 or email .
We are happy to help.

Euthanasing Indian Mynas

The recommended NSW DPIE methods of euthanasia should be used. (Check approved methods for other states.) You have a number of options for euthanasing the Indian (Common) Mynas you catch:

  • CVCIA Landcare have a number of carbon dioxide gas set ups as well as traps specifically designed for CO2 euthanasing of Indian Mynas. Please please ring Laura on 0456 472 177 for details.
  • Ask your local Vet if they would be willing to euthanase the birds for you.
  • Cervical dislocation (breaking the neck) – this is only recommended for those who are experienced  and confident to euthanase birds in this way.
  • Or perhaps you would like to make your own mini CO2 gassing system similar to that shown below. Please click for details. Mini CO2 gassing system (204kb)

CVCIA Landcare volunteers are more than happy to help out with your Myna control needs.

Remember – every animal deserves a quick and humane death!

PG trap with CO2 gassing setup