Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Noisy Miner V's Common Myna

By Judith Gray

This week I have had a baby Noisy Miner come into care after it was found on the ground near Queens Park in Toowoomba.  The juvenile bird is very cute and I shared a photo of this bird with my friends on my personal facebook page.  One of my friends enquired as to why I would be looking after a bird that kills other baby birds and is a pest... so this article is for you Leesa and other non-birders who are confused by these two Very different Miner and Myna Bird Species in Australia.  J.G.

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Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala)
AKA:  Soldierbird, Mickey

Australian Native Bird - Honeyeater Family

Identification:  Length: 25cm, Grey with white forehead and black face, slightly curved yellow beak, narrow yellow patch around eye. Yellow Legs.

Feeds On:  Nectar, Fruits & Insects

Breeding:  The Female makes a nest in trees, often the nests may only be a few meters from the ground.  The female incubates the eggs alone, but both sexes will care for and feed the young birds.

Notes:  The Noisy Miner - while being very noisy, this is a curious bird and is often responsible for allerting our attention to a nearby wildlife intruder, e.g. Lace Monitor (Goanna) or a Visiting Water Bird!

Australian Native Noisy Miner

 
 Noisy Miner Nest image at Jarowair
V's...

Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)
AKA:  Indian Myna or Mynah

Introduced Bird - Native bird of ASIA.

Identification:  Length: 25cm, Dark Brown bird with short tail, yellow beak and yellow patch around the eye and legs. Located wide-spread but mainly down East Coast of Australia.

Feeds On:  *Common Myna's are scavengers, feeding on almost anything, including insects, fruits and vegetables, scraps, pets' food and even fledgling sparrows.

Breeding:  *Nests are made in tree hollows, which would normally be used by native birds. Nests are quite messy and consist of a variety of materials,  Leaves, grasses, feathers and assorted items of rubbish are common materials.  When nesting hollows are rare, the Mynas will resort to walls and ceilings of buildings, making these birds a nuisance to humans.

Introduction to Australia:  *The Common Myna was introduced into the cane fields of north-eastern Queensland in 1883, to combat insect pests, particularly plague locusts and cane beetles. Other releases occurred, and by the 1940s and 1950s it was established in many eastern metropolitan areas.
In southern Asia Common Mynas are not generally considered pests, as flocks follow the plough to feast on the insects and grubs turned up with the soil. In Australia, however, their fruit-eating habits make them a pest of fruit trees, especially figs. Birds are also responsible for picking off seedlings in market gardens. 

Common Myna perched above Nesting Hollow (South-East Queensland)
 
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Click HERE to view a fantastic news article about the Common Myna - Australia's Number One Feral Enemy "Myna Fightback" by Abbie Thomas


 
{Information Sources: *  http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/; Birds of Australia by Jim Flegg, Wildlife of Greater Brisbane - Queensland Museum Wild Guide.  Photo's:  Judith Gray  Links: "Myna Fightback" by Abbie Thomas @ abc.net.au }

1 comment:

  1. Hi Judith
    Thank you for the comparison and info. Just one note on this and the linked ABC news article from 2004: it's the native Noisy Miner that is regarded a significant problem for its impact on small birds, not the introduced Indian Myna. In fact, the native Noisy Miner was recently listed under national environmental legislation a couple of years ago as a Key Threatening Process for its impact on small native bird populations: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/key-threatening-processes/overabundant-noisy-miners

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