(Last Updated on : 29-01-2016)
Pied Myna or Asian Pied Starling is an Indian bird
that bears a scientific name of "Gracupica contra
" that falls in the Myna family, abundant in Indian states
Habitat of Pied Myna
Pied Myna is usually found in small groups mainly on the plains and low foothills. They are often seen within cities and villages although they are not as bold as the common myna. They produce a range of calls made up of liquid notes. Several slight plumage variations exist in the populations and about five subspecies are named.
Structure of Pied Myna
Pied Myna is strikingly marked in black and white and has a yellowish bill with a reddish bill base. The bare skin around the eye is reddish. The upper body, throat and breast are black while the cheek, lores, wing coverts and rump are contrastingly white.
Sexes of Pied Myna
The sexes of Pied Myna are similar in plumage but young birds have dark brown in place of black. The subspecies vary slightly in plumage, extent of streaking of the feathers and in measurements.
Flight of Pied Myna
The flight of Pied Myna is slow and butterfly-like on round wings.
Category of Pied Myna
Pied Myna has been included in the genus Sturnus and Sturnopastor in the past but recent studies do not support its inclusion within Sturnus leading to the reinstatement of an older genus name Gracupica. It has been claimed that the species name "contra" is derived from an Indian name for it, although this has not been traced subsequently. The nominate subspecies of Pied myna (based on the species description given by Linnaeus in 1758) is found mainly along the Gangetic plains extending south into Andhra Pradesh
and east to Bangladesh. The population in north eastern India (Sadiya to Tirap District
and the Naga Hills) was named as sordida (originally Sturnus contra sordidus) by Sidney Dillon Ripley in 1950. This form differs from the Indian form in having reduced streaking on the shoulders and nape. The populations in Manipur south to Myanmar and east to Yunnan have the white extending over the eye and are included in the subspecies superciliaris first described by Edward Blyth in 1863. The subspecies in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia is included in flower while “jalla” described by Horsfield in 1821 is found on Sumatra, Java and Bali.
Concentration of Pied Myna
Pied Myna is found mainly in the plains but in the foothills up to about 700m above sea level. They are found mainly in areas with access to open water. Their main distribution in India is in the Gangetic plains but extending south to the Krishna River
Population of Pied Myna
The range of Pied Myna is increasing, with populations establishing more recently in Pakistan, Rajkot
, and Mumbai
possibly aided by trade in caged birds and accidental escape. Their westward spread in India particularly in parts of Rajasthan has been aided by changes in irrigation and farming patterns, and the spread into Sumatra has been aided by deforestation. The species has also established itself in Dubai, UAE. They are widespread in Eastern Ghats Mountain Range in India
and the entire part of West Bengal
, Andhra Pradesh
, and Telangana
. The habitat is lowland open areas with scattered trees near water, often near human habitation. This species is often seen at sewage farms and refuse tips.
Behaviour of Pied Myna
Pied Myna is usually found in small groups, foraging mainly on the ground but perching on trees and buildings. Birds in a group call frequently with a wide repertoire that includes whistles, trills, buzzes, clicks, and warbling calls. The young birds taken into captivity have been trained to imitate tunes of other birds.
Breeding Season of Pied Myna
The breeding season of Pied Myna in India is spread from March to September. With the onset of breeding, the sizes of flocks decline and birds pair up. The courtship of Pied Myna involves calling, fluffing of the feathers and head bobbing.
Nests of Pied Myna
The nest is a loose mass of straw formed into a dome with an entrance on the side and placed in a large tree (often banyan, mango, jackfruit, rosewood) or sometimes on man-made structures, often close to human habitation. Several pairs will breed in the same vicinity. The usual clutch is made up of about four to six glossy blue eggs. Each egg is laid with a day in between and incubation begins only after the third or fourth egg is laid.
Eggs of Pied Myna
The eggs hatch after 14 to 15 days. The young are brooded for two weeks, the female staying at the nest during the night. Both parents feed the chicks until they fledge and leave after three weeks. More than one brood may be raised in a season.