Today at Light Future Art, we’re going to look at some unique little birds: mynas!
1. Myna birds are native to Southeast Asia but were introduced to Australia and New Zealand in the 19th century to reduce insect populations. Now, though, they are considered an invasive pest in these countries. Today, they live in all of Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Russia, Oceania, and the United States.
2. The habitat of myna birds is tropical grasslands, mountains, desert oases, as well as farmlands and cities. They have adapted well to human development and now many myna birds live near farms and find much of their food there.
3. The name “myna” is derived from the Sanskrit word “madana”, which means joyful. This fits them well, as mynas are often observed to be playful.
4. Mynas usually live anywhere from four to 12 years in the wild and can sometimes live until 25 when they are kept as pets. Many people love to have mynas as companions because of their ability to mimic human speech. Some myna species don’t have songs of their own but just mimic sounds they hear.
5. One myna bird, the Gracula regligiosa, was taught to say prayers by humans. The Hindu word for mynas, “maina”, means messenger of God, perhaps for this reason.
6. Mynas roost in large flocks that can grow to be as big as a few thousand birds. During the day, they can usually be found in pairs or in smaller groups hunting or foraging.
7. Myna species are not defined by their close relation to one another. Rather, myna birds are any starlings found in India.
8. Mynas are monogamous. Both parents participate in caring for their chicks. Only the mother incubates the eggs and the father brings her food all throughout this process. Once the chicks hatch, they remain in the nest for about three to four weeks before departing. After leaving the nest, the chicks actually need another week before they’ve mastered flying.
9. During nesting season, mynas fight one another for the right to build a nest in a desired location. These fights can sometimes be quite vicious. Mynas build their nests in excavated cavities in river banks or in man-made structures like walls. Some mynas actually drive out small mammals from their burrows and nest there.
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