Ecology and Behavior of Common Myna
Subject: Zoology | Topics:



Birds are one of the most wonderful and colorful creature of nature. They are vertebrate chordates. They are beauty of nature. Some are very nice to look. Some are famous for their nice song (oriental magpie robin, white rumped shama, asian koel etc.).

Birds are situated between reptile and mammals in the evolutionary line. They display at least out ward sign of their reptilian ancestry: Scales on their legs and of course the feathers that are the later modification of their ancestor body scales. The fossil and comparative anatomy show that birds have descends from reptile through forms like the extinct Archaeopteryx, a primitive bird of the Jurassic period. Some 160 million years ago with some reptilian features (Teeth, along tail and free digits on the forelimbs) were super imposed.

The power of flight has opened up to birds an enormous gaseous ocean, the atmosphere, as a mean of quick direct to almost any spot on earth (Welty and Baptista, 1988). They occur everywhere in the fields, forests, grassland, marshes, wetland which have become adorned with the solor and music (Kotpal, 1991). This adds to their highly evolved homeostatic mechanisms, is what makes this class the dominant vertebrate (Wetly and Baptista, 1988).

Birds are warm blooded vertebrate animals with feathers and a bill. They have adapted to a wide range of habitats. They are mainly arboreal and aerial, yet some species are mainly terrestrial. Domestic birds have lost their ability to fly. Birds make a nest where they lay their eggs. The nestling stay in the most until they have grown furthers. Few brood parasitic birds do not make their own nest but lay their eggs in other birds nest.

Despite their ability to fly, some species are restricted to special regions or particular type of habitats and many of bird species have become adapted to particular climate condition (Kotpal, 1991).

Birds serve an important role in maintaining essential ecological balance. They can be used as a flagship species of an ecosystem, because birds are one of the ecosystems. They help in pest control (Perris, 1991), pollination, cleaning the environment and many also serve as an environmental indicator (Harvey, 1990). To assess the impact of birds on ecosystem it is necessary to know the food and feeding habitats of birds and their seasonal distribution and abundances.

Jahangirnagar University campus has diverse habitats for birds, such as permanent water bodies, marshy area, grassland, bushes, cultivated land etc. Besides this, interaction between human and bird is less, but now a days the campus is disturbed by various vehicle and birds habitat also disturbed by vegetation destruction, for making building.

But once the campus was a dreamland for birds. Many kinds of birds found in this campus all over the year. Without it every year many migratory birds come to this campus.

Ecology is the setting stage on which animals must perform their behavior and evolution as a process which selects individuals whose behavior results in greatest success in the struggle to contribute genes to the population’s gene pool.

Behavioural ecology is concerned with functional questions about behavior, namely how a particular behavior pattern contributes to an animals chances of survival and it’s reproductive success.

Today there are 10,000 living bird species (IUCN 2007), making them the most varied of terapod vertebrates. According to Ali and Ripley (1968), the total number of birds species is about 1200 in the Indian Subcontinent, although many of these are rare if limited range. Over 1200 bird species occur in the Indian subcontinent. Bangladesh has 628 species (16 order and 67 families; 276 passerine and 352 non-passerine), of which 388 are resident (16 order and 60 families; 171 passerine and 217 non passerine), and 240 are migratory (10 orders and 33 families; 105 passerine and 135 non passerine).Today 41 species are threatened in Bangladesh.

The present paper deals with the study of ecology and behavior of common myna. Their feeding grounds are disturbed by human activities regularly that are threats to them for survive. However, no broad study is done on this bird.

Species Description

Common myna (Acridotheres tristis)

Local name

 Bhat shalik/Towanay, Mandi sheruk(Garo), Saruk pakhia(Khasia), jira Ranei (Marma) Sarukhsha(Tripura)

Systematic position

  •            Kingdom-Animalia
  •           Phylum-Chordata
  •          Class-Aves
  •          Order-Passeriformes
  •           Family-Sturnidae
  •            Genus-Acridotheres
  •            Species-Acridotheres tristis



Maroon-brown plumage with black head and neck fading posteriorly. Large white wing-patch and black primaries. White tipped blackish tail, yellow bill, eye-patch and legs. Voice harsh chackle-chackle-chackle and various chattering and whistling. Habits diurnal. Usually occurs in small to medium groups but also solitary or in paris bold and aggressive. Feeds on invertebrates, fruits, grains, nectar and human garbage. Often roots in colonies; evening roosting very noisy. Makes nests in tree holes or crevices. It is a familiar perky well-groomed dark brown bird with glossy black head and bright yellow legs. Sexes alike. Total length is 23 cm.

 An omnivorous open woodland bird with a strong territorial instinct, the Myna has adapted extremely well to urban environments. The myna has been introduced in many other parts of the world and its distribution range is on the increase. It is a serious threat to the ecosystems of Australia.

The Common myna widely appears under the name saarika in Indian culture from Vedic times, featuring both in classical Indian literature (Sanskrit) as well as in Prakrit Buddhist texts. The Sankrit term shuksarika, which refers to the Rose-ringed Parakeet (shuk) and the Common Myna (saarika), is used to indicate a pair or a couple, probably because both birds are vocal and capable of mimicking human sound. In Sanskrit literature, the Common myna has a number of names, most are descriptive of the appearance or behaviour of the bird. In addition to saarika, the names for the Common myna include kalahapriya, which means “one who is fond of arguments” referring to the quarrelsome nature of this bird; chitranetra, meaning “picturesque eyes”; peetanetra (one with yellow eyes) and peetapaad (one with yellow legs).

Status and distribution

Very common resident. Widely distributed in different habitat types, but commonly in and around human habitations and cultivations. All protected areas support this species. It is one of the commonest and most familiar birds in the entire subcontinent. It is a species of bird native to Asia with its initial home range spanning from Iran, the entire South Asia including Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka; as well as Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, to Malaysia, peninsular Thailand, Indo-China and China.

The Myna has been introduced in many other parts of the world such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Hawaii, South Africa, and islands in the Indian Ocean (Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep archipelago and also in islands of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

The calls includes croaks, squawks, chirps, clicks and whistles, and the bird often fluffs its feathers and bobs its head in singing. The Common Myna screeches warnings to its mate or other birds in cases of predators in proximity or when its about to take off flying. Common mynas are popular as cage birds for their singing and “speaking” abilities. Before sleeping in communal roosts, mynas vocalise in unison, which is known as “communal noise”.

The IUCN declared this myna as one of the only three birds among the world’s 100 worst invasive species (Other two invasive birds being Red-vented bulbul and European Starling) It has been introduced widely elsewhere, including adjacent areas in Southeast Asia, Madagascar, the Middle East, South Africa, Israel, North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and various oceanic islands, including a very prominent population in Hawaii. The Common myna is a pest in South Africa, North America, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and many Pacific islands. It is particularly problematic in Australia. Several methods have been tried to control the bird’s numbers and protect native species.

In Australia, the Common Myna is an invasive pest. They are now often the predominant bird in urban areas all along the East coast. In a 2008 popular vote, the bird was named “The Most Important Pest/Problem” in Australia, also earning the nickname “flying rats” due to their scavenging resembling that of rats.

This bird can live and breed in a wide range of temperatures, though it thrives in hotter regions. Self-sustaining populations of Common Myna have been found in regions of mean warmest month temperature no less than 23.2°C and mean coldest month temperature no less than -0.4°C.

Literature Review

Remarkable particular notable works on birds were done by Turner (father of british ornithology) in 1554 and Willoughby and Ray (who first really scientifically classify birds) in 1676.Then some elaborate works on birds by Mark Catesby (1682-1792). Alexander Wilson (1766-1813) and John James Audubon (1785-1851) in different biogeographical areas (Wallace, 1971).

Ornithological studies in Bangladesh are still in primary level. The actual study has been started only several decades back. But most of them are patchy and not very intensive.

In Bangladesh the breeding biology of common myna (Acridotheres tristis), Jungle myna (Acridotheres fuscus) and house sparrow (Passer domesticus) was studied by Hamid (1970), Rashid(1970), and khan (1970) respectively. Other studied on birds of different region of Bangladesh were studied by Collins (1947); Cnpps (1878); Hussain (1967a, 1967b, 1968); Hussain and Haque (1976, 1977); Hussain and Sarker (1971, 1972, 1973, 1979); Khan(1973, 1978); Islam (1969); Law and Rahman (1969).

The old faunal literature give information on the ecology and breeding biology of the mynas of south and south-east asia in a general way (Jerdon, 1963; Toor and Dhindsa, 1978; Ali and Ripley, 1968-1974; Baker, 1926; Whistler, 1949; Marshal, 1877; Varghese, 1935; Cume, 1889; Inglis, 1909; Burns and Haberkorn, 1960; Szijj, 1957; Ah 1979, Gates, 1889; Woodcock, 1980; Smythies, 1953; Zacharias and Gaston, 1982; etc.). In Bangladesh some works on the ecology and breeding biology of common myna and jungle myna were done by Hamid, 1970 (unpublished) and Rahman, 1993.

A preliminary study on the status of the birds of Jahangirnagar University campus was made by Feeroz et. al (1988). Studies on the breeding of bronzewinged jacana (Metopidies indicus), Spotted dove (Streptopelia chinensis), Black drongo (Dicrurus absimilies). Common myna (Acridotheres tristris), Pied myna (Sturnus contra), Small minivet (Prericrocotus cinnamomeus), Redvented bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer), Magpie robin (Copsychus soularis) and purple sunbird (Nectarinia asiatica) was made by Begum (1992) and also on Bronzewinged Jacana (Metopidius indicus) by Amin (1992).

In Bangladesh several works have been done which are described as follows-

Ahmed (2006) worked on behavioral study and captive breeding of the emerald dove (Chalcophaps indica) in the Wildlife Rescue Centre (WRC), Jahangirnagar University.

Akhtar (1999) worked on ecology and behavior of pied kingfisher (Creyle rudis) at Jahangirnagar University campus.

Begum (2003) studied on the brood parasitism in birds at Jahangirnagar University campus.

Begum (2000) conducted study on the pattern of habitat use by pond heron (Ardeola grayi grayi) in Sitakunda.

Begum (2001) studied on the pair-formation displays of the pond heron (Ardeola grayi grayi).

Begum (1992) worked on the breeding activities of nine bird species at Jahangirnagar University campus.

Begum et al. (1993) studied on the comparative breeding activities of common myna (Acridotheres tristis) and pied myna (Sturnus contra) at Jahangirnagar University campus.

Begum et al. (1994) conducted a study on the breeding activities of red-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) at Jahangirnagar University campus.

Begum (1997) studied on some aspects of breeding and food consumption of ring dove (Streptopeli decacto) in captivity.

Begum (2002) studied on the food and feeding behavior of pond heron (Ardeola grayi grayi) of Bangladesh.

Das (1973) worked on birds of Sylhet (With notes on taxonomy and relationship).

Das et al. (1996) studied on the birds of kuakata of Bangladesh.

Feeroz et al. conducted on primary study on birds of Jahangirnagar University campus.

Haque (1976) prepared a list of birds of Rajshahi University campus.

Hossain (1999) studied on resident and migratory birds of Jahangirnagar University campus.

Hussain (1968) made some notes on birds of Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Hussain and Sarker (1971, 1973 and 1979) studied on the birds of pabna (with notes on taxonomy. Food and relationship).

Hussain et al. (1983) studied on the summer birds of the Sundarban Nilkamal Sanctury.

Hussain and Haque (1977) worked on avifauna of Madhupur forest.

Islam et al. (1999) studied on the winter birds of the Sundarbans.

Khan et al. (1999) studied on the breeding biology of spotted munia in captivity of Jahangirnagar University campus.

Khan (1973) made a checklist of the birds of Rajshahi with their ecological groupings.

Khan and Shah (1981) make a case study on the birds of the natural and artificial vegetation of the botanical garden, Mirpur, Dhaka.

Joarder (1997) studied on the ecology and behavior of bronze-winged jacana (Metopidious indicus) at Jahangirnagar University campus.

Islam (1994) studied on the breeding habits of nilgiri laughing thrush (Garrulax cachinnans) in India.

Aims and Objective

The main objective of the present study is to know about the ecology and behavior of common myna. However the main aims and objective of the study are as follows-

  • To find out the activity pattern in different months of common myna.
  • To know the food and feeding behavior.
  • To find out the breeding behavior and breeding success.
  • To determine the threats of that species and probable conservation measure.
  • To determine their interaction with other birds.

Study area


The study area is Jahangirnagar University campus which is about 33 km north-west from Dhaka city. JU is situated at the central region of Bangladesh. Geographically the campus is at 30016’N latitude and 90052’W longitude, 32 km northwest from Dhaka city. The university consists of 760 hectors of area and is approximately 6 meter high from mean sea level. The university bounded on the south by Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center (BPATC) on the east, Dhaka-Aricha Highway and Savar Dairy farm border the campus and west is bounded by open land with sporadic settlements and village.

Physical features

The soil of the study area was rough and highly acidic with many pebbles, color of the soil was yellowish and reddish enriched with iron, aluminum and calcium but lack of silicon and nitrogen. It was relatively deficient in water content. Acidity and alkanity of the soil of this were 5.5 and 6.0 respectively.


Grasslands were found in the western and northern portion of the campus. They were sporadically distributed all over the campus. The eco-system dominated by the common sun grass (Ipomerate cylindrical). Common plant species are Cassia accidentalis, Croton honpladia nun, Desmodium triflorum, Afimosa pudica etc.

Vegetation and habitat type

The campus has diverse ecological habitats and vegetation types. It consists of wetlands, grasslands and cultivated lands, bushes woodlands human settlements i.e. houses, academic and administrative buildings. They provide habitats for various kinds of wildlife (mammals, birds, reptiles and and amphibians) fishes, molluasks innumerable number of insects. (Hossain et al, 1995).

The eastern part of the campus posses the most of the woodland. The woodland ecosystem contained 157 plant species (Hossain et al, 1995). Artocarpus heterophyllus, Artocarpus chapasha, Mangifera indica, Tectona grandis, Acacia auriculioformes, Swtenia mahagoni, Shorea robusta etc. Present in these area. Various types of medicinal plants, fruits and ornamental trees, vegetables are also planted in the botanical garden of the campus which is situated in the south of this campus. Birds frequently forage in these areas. Spotted dove, spottd owl, golden-backed wood pecker, jungle myna magpie robin, crow pheasant, brown shrike are the common birds in this areas.


Wetlands consist of permanent water bodies and marshy areas. Permanent water bodies: there were ten artificial lakes, eight ponds and four small ponds (Locally called as “Doba”) in the campus. The area of the water bodies are 59.05 acres. Some portion of the northern, southern, and central parts have lying areas. These are locally called “Baids” In winter these are remain dry and are used as agricultural land. During monsoon these areas filled with water become marshy. These areas are habitats of different type of wader such as snipe, sand piper, egert, pond heron, bronge winged jacana etc.

Permanent waterbodies

There are seven artificial lakes in this campus. The total areas of water these bodies is 17 hectares. Fresh water of these lakes contains its own teeming world of plants and creatures from the beautiful flowers of waterlilies to the shiny waterbeetles. Many winter birds come in these lakes. In 2010 the lakes were cleared for fish cultivation which altered the habitats of the winter birds.

Areas with human settlement

These areas consist of academic and administrative buildings, hostels staff quarters and homestead garden. These areas contain a number of like Tectona grandis, Acacia auriculariformes, Swietenia mehagani, Casurins sp. Delonix regia, Artocarpus heterophyllus, Albizzia lebbeck, Albizzia procera etc. Nests of different birds like pied mains, common mynas, magpie robin, spotted dove, red vented bulbul are found in these areas. Undergrowth and scrub jungle or bushes are scatterdly distributed in these areas.

Botanical garden

It consists of an area of 15 acres, and is bounded by Dhaka Aricha Highway on the east. Different types of medicinal plants, vegetables, fruit trees and flowers are planted here. A list of bird and a list of plants in these areas are shown in Appendix.


The climate condition is equable. Summer warm and humid: winter is dry. The period from November to the end February is fairly cool and pleasant. Temperature is very high in summer which beings to rise in March. Annual minimum and maximum temperature in Jahangirnagar University campus are showing on following table-

Table 2.1 Temperature in different month of study period (January to October, 2011)

MonthMaximumMinimumAverageAverage      humidity (%)Rainfall (mm)

Source: Department of Geography and Environment, Jahangirnagar University


Materials and methods


Common myna (Acridotheres tistis) is the most common passerine birds of Bangladesh. It is very common in Jahangirnagar University campus. The present study was conducted on ecology and behaviour of common myna. The study period was conducted between January 2011 to November 2011. The whole campus was selected for the study. The total 81 days were spent in the field to study species.

Table 3.1 Total hour spent in different activities during the study period

MonthTotal working dayDatesHours



14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 27, 29




2,3, 7, 10,13, 17, 22, 25, 28




2,3, 4,6, 10,15, 18, 22, 27, 29, 30




3, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12,15, 20, 25,




2,3,6, 10,13, 14, 16, 22, 25, 29




1, 5, 15, 17,18, 19, 23,27, 28




1, 6, 10, 11, 13, 15, 19, 22




1, 3, 4, 24




16, 19, 20, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30




2, 7, 9, 11, 15, 17, 20




1, 3,15



The following material used during study period.

  1. Watch
  2. Camera  (Samsung ES60 and Canon EOS Digital)
  3. Field binocular
  4. Signature pen
  5. Pencil
  6. Marker
  7. Pen
  8. Wooden scale
  9. Calculator
  10. Data Sheet
  11. Note book
  12. Books and published source were used


Scan Sampling method

Data on daily activities of common myna of Jahangirnagar University campus were taken based on five minutes scan sampling method. It is a used method for collecting a large sample of data. In scan sampling the behavior of visible group or individual members are sampled within a very short time period. The activities of the birds were observed by binocular or bare eyes from a considerable distance so that the birds would not be disturb.

 The information about weather, humidity, temperature, rainfall was collected from the department of geography and environment of Jahangirnagar University. The recorded data showed the time period from January 2011 to October 2011. The whole day was divided into three to four hour periods and observations were made by rotation to cover the whole day. The activities of the entire visible individual were recorded in each scan. The behavior of the individual during the scan was recorded as one observation.

Activities and feeding of the common myna (Acridotheres tristis) were calculated at five minutes scanning method from morning such as 6:00 am, 7:00 am and sometimes it was done in the evening such as 4:50 pm, 5:00 pm. It varied from day to day although flying, drinking, calling, body shaking, puffing, mating, drawing of nest materials were not always the mostly done activities in a specific five minutes.

To make the calculation easily in any five specific minutes, if any one of the activities mention above was done; it was counted as the mostly done in five minutes during this study.

The following categories of activities are recorded:

Feeding: When an individual actively captured any food then the observation was recorded as feeding.

Foraging: When an individual actively search for food this activity is called as foraging.

Resting: This activity represent the inactiveness of the study species which may be obserbed as standing sitting motionlessly. It means resting at day and night.

Calling: Calling represent the creating sounds or playing songs of an individual when calling and other activities  such as foraging, flying, resting etc. were recorded as simultaneously then it was recorded as calling not other activities.

Preening: Preening behavior was recorded by watching the cleaning and rearranging feathers with the bill of an individual.

Flying: The flight of the individual from its habitat to other place or flying around its fishing ground is recorded as flying.

Breeding: Breeding behavior comprises with the showing of sexual activity of a male or female individual. Further it up built up by courtship, nesting site selection, nest building, incubation and rearing of offsprings.

The behavioural pattern of the study species were following by binocular.

Data analysis

The collected data were analyzed partly by hand and partly with the help of computer. At first data of each hour, each day and each month was arranged and final out sum total of the activities. Then Microsoft-Excel software used for statistical analysis.



Common myna found in flocks throughout the year. With the beginning of the breeding season sometimes the pairs still remain in flocks. How these species select their mate is not carefully observed. Probably some factors or chances play some part in selection of the mate. In both species the male walk up and down, a few bows made every now and then with puffed throat. The male courts his mate by pouncing on her for a very short time.

The proportion of time spent by the animal in different activities and the time of these activities throughout the day is one of the important aspects of species ecology. Animal distribute it’s available time among those categories of activities that are important for it’s survival and reproduction. During study period they spent 6.35% of their time for breeding purpose.

Birds have a routine depending on the time of year that kept them busy. During breeding season they were busy with collecting nesting materials, but when the young born they busy with collecting food and take care of the young.

At the beginning of the day they spent most of their time for collecting food. They spent 20.95% of their time for feeding and 17.25% of their time for foraging. But by the time of 10:00 am to 12:00 pm they spent most of their time for calling and resting. They spent 9.93% of their time for resting and 14.78% for calling. During breeding season they call frequently to attract opposite sex. In breeding season mainly March, April and May they spent most of their time for breeding activities. They spent 6.35% of their time for breeding. During summer season and hot day they take bath. But bathing seen very small amount.

During breeding season they walk very small amount. They spent 10.78% of their time for walking. Flying rate is very high during breeding season other than any month. They spent 14.72% of their time for walking.  They show preening activity year round. But it’s rate is very low. They spent 5.23% of their time for preening.

The activities of common myna were observed in the Jahangirnagar University campus with the help of a binocular. Observations were made to study different activities such as feeding, preening, roosting, bathing, sunning, moving etc. of the individuals. During midday Common myna spent most of their time by resting, preening and calling. In the evening before they returned to the roosting places they collect food.

The study species were regularly observed at close ranges both in the breeding and in the non-breeding seasons.

 Activity pattern

 Activity budget

Common myna took food about (20.95%) of their day time. They spent (17.25%) of their day time for foraging and (14.78%) of their time for calling, (14.72%) of their day time for flying, (9.93%) for resting, (10.78%) for walking, (5.23%) for preening, (6.35%) for breeding.

 Table 4.1- Diurnal activity budget of common myna

ActivityNumber of observationPercentage
Total number of observation3403100%


Feeding is the most important part of any animal’s life. No one species has a diet identical to another, and evens within a species there is usually variation in diet between individuals, social groups and population. They eat mainly rice, caterpillar, earthworm and different types of insect. They also eat many debris materials. In the study period the peak of the feeding was in the month of November 24.83% and lowest was in the month of January. But overall feeding activities of common myna was 20.95%.

Different activities of common myna (A) Feeding (B) Foraging (C) RestingFood item of common mynaForaging

It is the behavior of searching for food. Animal spent most of their time for searching food. By walking or flying they search their food. During search their food they use their bill. When they search their food they shake their body. Overall they use 17.25% of their time for foraging activity. During breeding they frequently search their food and when their hatchling born they need more food for this reason during that they spent most of their time for foraging. The peak of the foraging behavior was September 18.056% and lowest was August 8.33%.


The resting of bird is one of the most important behaviors. After successful feeding, they remain inactive for certain period which is called resting period. Resting time differs between species (Burton, 1991). Probably climatological factors like rain, cloud and heat had stimulative effect on the roosting behavior. During rainy or cloudy and misty days relatively poor light forced the birds to retire by some half an hour or so earlier than on bright days. In breeding season, while the female incubated and brooded, the male roosted alone. Common mynas were observed to take rest in Krisnochura tree (Delonix regia), mango (Mangifera indica), Kathal (Artocarpus heterophyllus) and sometime it take rest on electric lamp post, cornice of building etc. Overall they spent 9.93% of their time for resting. During breeding season they spent very few time for resting activities. During this period they spent most of their time for nest building, guarding their nest and hatchling, and also collecting food. The peak time of resting was November 14.28% and the lowest rate was January 12.08%.


During breeding season common myna done it very much and also when they spent their lazy time they do it. They spent 14.78% of their time for calling. By calling they attract opposite sex. By calling they also aware about danger. The peak time of calling was March 15.51% and the lowest rate was August 14.28%.


They search their food by walking. Walking means moving with successive steps of the legs. They walk sometime slow motion or sometimes fast. They spent 10.78% of their overall time for waking. By waking they collect food. But during breeding they walk very small amount. The peak time of walking was November 14.238% and lowest rate was March 8.33%. During breeding season they walked small amount. Breeding season they busy with different type of activity such as collection of nesting materials, incubation, hatching etc.


Bathing is usually considered as highly coordinated, innate behavior pattern whose chief function lies in the wetting. During hot day or sunny day Common myna do it frequently. During March, April, May they do it but very few amount. By bathing common myna usually wet their body. When they bathing they also flapped their wing.


Preening in bird is one of the common activities which has also physiological aspects. Preening in birds has been considered as major pattern of feather maintenance. It is commonly take place after dust or water baths and helps restore oil from the uropygial gland or power down particles to keep the feathers in good condition. Preening maintains the insulating properties of the plumage, which are vital for the survival of birds in cold weather, by keeping the feathers oiled and in good condition (Burton, 1990).

Overall they use 5.23% of their time for preening activities. By preening they clean their body. In breeding season they do it very much. But all year round they do it very few amounts.

During morning resting time and breeding season they do it frequently. Preening in the noon hours was prominent during incubation period. They also preened while perching on the roosting branch. In addition they also preened on several and after bathing or getting wet in the rain.

Usually the bird started with preening the breast, followed by the abdomen and neck. While preening the primaries, secondaries and their coverts, the birds stretched their wings.

Scratching was also observed on several occasions. The Common myna scratched the head and neck plumage with claws. Body-shakes were observed in many cases. Head-rubbing of the Common myna for a few seconds during preening activity was also found. The peak preening rate of common myna was March 7.47% and lowest rate was November 2.318%.


In addition to food, the study birds must have water. They either eat directly or obtain it from the food. The common method of drinking is to immerse the break in water and then hold the head high and allow the water to flow into the throat of be swallowed. Drinking activities shown very small amount.


Sunning is the behavior by which the plumage is exposed to the sun by special postures. The sunning may be performed suddenly. The form of the sunning posture also partly dependent on the position of the sun in the sky and on the mood of the experienced birds. After bathing they sunning their body. Also when wet their body by rain or storm they sun their body.


Birds are flying machines, through the evolutionary gifts of teachers, powerful wings, hollow bones, warm blood, a remarkable respiratory system and large strong heart. In order to fly, a bird must solve two basic problems. During breeding season they fly very frequently because by this time they collect their breeding materials and also they collect their food. Overall they spent 14.72% of their time for flying. The total observation of flying was 501.

The study species flew in order to move from one place to another. Before flying, they made some special postures such as keeping the head and eyes at various directions to look at the specific place then flew down.

Even with reduced weights, birds need increased power to support their bodies in the air to overcome the air friction against their bodies and wings, to power their wing and tail muscles, and to support their rates while flying rest of the anatomical and physiological difference that get birds apart from other vertebrates. The reduction of weight and the increase of power. The peak of flying was August was 16.66% and lowest rate of flying was in January 12.08%.


The head including the sill were scratched with the claws of one foot while the bird supported itself on the other. The body was kept horizontal and the supporting legs was bent, the wing of one side was dropped slightly, leg brought over the wing and then over the shoulder. The   head was bent back to one side and foot of one side brought up behind the wing to scratch the head. There is no particular time for scratching common myna scratch usually at the time of the preening. When they search their food in the lake or pond side area they scratch soil and found their food.

Body shaking

Feather shaking is a generalized ruffing of the feathers brought about by shaking of the body white standing on both the feet with the head and neck intended out in front. When common myna walks they shake their body. As a comfort movement feather shaking was also closely associated with preening and resting.

 Wing flapping 

Common myna sometimes flapped their wing after preening. Sometimes when they searching their food they flapping their wing. After bathing or wetting they flap their body or wing. The overall percentage of wing flapping was very low.

Head and bill rubbing

Head and bill rubbing was another common movement. The head was thrown back and then rotated from side to side for new second. Head rubbing was observed on the preening time.

 Scratching of wings and legs

Scratching was a common activity where by a leg was stretched and intended  backward and held at the wing on the same sided was partially intended and stretched downward and backward adjacent to it. The birds stood squarely on both feet. During breeding season they do it frequently.


All birds have special movements to remove moisture, particularly surface water, from the plumage as quickly as possible. These drying movements, most of which are also as general comfort movements occur both during and after deliberate bathing and also after accidental wetting due to rain. After bathing or wetting under rain, they dry their body.

Relationship of different activities

March, April and May were mainly the breeding season. During breeding season the relationship of resting and breeding was inversely correlated (r = − 0.9024). In the breeding season the species spent most of their time in breeding activity.

 Interaction with other birds

Common myna basically interacts with jungle myna, pied myna and also other birds. During breeding season they interact with other birds and also interact with human. When they take their food they interact with jungle myna and pied myna.

Breeding behavior

Breeding is such type of behavior that one species increase their offspring. Common myna’s overall breeding time is 6.35%. Most of breeding behavior seen in March to June. But the peak time of breeding was May. Overall breeding that was seen in common myna was following down. The peak time of breeding behavior was March 12.93% and the lowest activity shown in September, October and November.

Courtship and mating behavior

The pair bond and its formation, was described by wetly and Baptista (1988) as ‘’the coming together of two birds for the procreation of young often originates a more  or less durable bond between them a marriage of pair bond that usually results in monogamy.’’

Common myna are found in flocks throughout the year. With the beginning of the breeding season, the gregariousness tends to break down. Sometimes the pairs still remain in flocks. How these species select their mate is not carefully observed. Probably some factors or chances play some part in selection of the mate. In both species the male walk up and down, a few bows made every now and then with puffed up throat. The male courts his mate by pouncing on her for a very short time. Copulation by vent to vent lying on the ground, in common myna as observed by Varghese (1935), was not observed during the present study.

 Nesting Season:

Birds build their nest chiefly to protect themselves, their eggs and particularly their developing young from predatory animals and from adverse environmental condition during breeding season. Birds must incubate their eggs and this can be done most efficiently in a nest. Common mynas nest were found most in May. During this time the trees were full of flower and fruit. Most of the nestlings feed on ripe Ficus fruit which were available in this month.

Site selection

Common mynas select a wide range of nest site than any other species. They also build nests in different trees at different height and even in the holes of dead branch of a tree. In the selected hole nesting materials were gathered. A single nest was found on the beam, 2 nests were found in the lamp post, 2 nests in the coconut trees hole. Most of the nests located near human habitation. During study period a nest was also found in the rejected wood made box on the cornice of a building.

 Nest building material

Common mynas nest built by fine twigs, piece of polythene, fallen leaf petiole, straw, feathers, dead leaves, coloured paper, feather, dry grass, worn paper etc for nest building. In case of a hole nest, the nest was just accumulation of these things. Early morning this birds starts bringing nest materials. When they build their nest they frequently move around their nest. During nest building they create various types of calls they also pecking of each other’s boby feather, nodding of their head were done during the time of nest construction. Their nest is too much dirty with rubbish material. Material used in nest construction are shown in the following table.

Table 4.2 Material used in nest building

Sl. No.Major plants speciesPart used as nesting material
1Albizzia lebbeckLeaves
2Casurina sp.Dry leaves
3Borassus flabillifer Leaves
4Artocarpus heterophylusDry leaves
5Anthocephalus chinensis Dry leaves
6Cornice of building and tin shade 
7Coconut treeStem
8Electric pole, electric transformer, electric wire 

Clutch size

Common myna laid 3-4 eggs in different nest. The eggs were elongate and oval shaped. The texure is hard and brilliantly glossy. The color may vary from pale to pure sky blue or greenish blue. Average width 2.05, length 2.57, and average weight is 5.57. Begum (1992) found (n=4 to 5) number of eggs and average size of common myna was 25×22 mm and weight was 6.06 gm.

Table 4.3: Average size and weight of eggs of common myna found in six nests

No. of nests

Length of eggs (cm)

Average length (cm)

Width of eggs (cm)

Average length (cm)

Weight of eggs (gm)

Average weight (gm)





















Both parents incubate. The birds were observed to visit the nests 12 to 17 times per hour. In the afternoon on the hot days a large part of incubation was left to the heat of the sun (Hume, 1889). The incubation period for one nest was recorded as 15-16 days, but it varies. They spent most of their time in nest during incubation period. Begum (1992) found the birds spent 14 to 28 minutes per hour during the incubation period. Incubation period was recorded from March to May.

 Parental care

Both sexes were active for parental care. After hatching they carry different types of food such as debris, small insect etc. All the time they guarded their nest. The birds were observed to visit the nest 4 to 9 times per hour. Begum (1992) found the birds were observed the nest 5 to 7 times per hour. Parental care was recorded to provide the young from March to July.

Feeding their young

From the very birth of the first nestling both the parents engage themselves in bringing food materials in quick succession. Feeding reaction consists of raising the head by stretching the neck and gaping the mouth to its fullest extent. The bill of common myna is light yellow. The gap is swollen and yellow. The one week aged common myna make uttered a ‘Shrill’ call. The intensity and frequency increase day by day. Various small insect and larvae form the food of the nestling of these birds during the first 5 or 6 days. Insect larvae, dragonfly, butterfly, and earthworm were given to the nestling of common mynas 12 times per hour. Corresponding to the growth of the nestling, there must be an increased intake of food. The parents more frequent trips to feed the young. They also feed rice to their young.

Nest sanitation

Nest sanitation was not very much found in common myna. Their nest was very dirty from any other birds.

 Breeding success

Breeding success is the percentage relation between the number of eggs laid and the number of youngs that are successful in coming out of the nest defying all the natural calamities to lead an independent life.

In the present study it was found 5 nests of common myna. Among them only 2 nests were observed with eggs. Among these two observed nests, one nest was found with 4 eggs. Among these 4 eggs 4 hatchlings were found. Ultimately 3 survivals were observed because one was died few days later. Another observed nest contained only 3 eggs without any hatchling.  Finally there was only one eggs and the bird reject the nest. Perhaps naughty boys stolen 2 eggs from the nest.

During the present study it was found breeding success of common myna was 75%. Begum (1992) found breeding success of common myna was 56%.

Table 4.4- Breeding success of common myna

Total no. of nestsNo. of nests observed

No. of eggs

No.  of hatchlingNo.  of survivalsPercentage


A) Hatchling,& (B) dead hatchling of common myna


Birds are not only the animals that can fly. Bats can fly and so can many insects, but only birds have feathers to help them fly, Feathers are also like clothes. They help keep the bird warm and may be colorful to help it attract a mate or they may have camouflage colors to help the bird hide from enemies. Because feathers are so important that the bird need to look after them and keep them in good condition by preening and Bathing (Burton, 1991). Simmons (1964) considered bathing, preening and head scratching as major patterns of feather maintenance. Birds spends a lot of time each day to carefully draw each feather through common myna found in flocks, with the beginning of the breeding season, the gregariousness tends to break down and pair formation begin. How they select their mate is still unknown. Regarding the selection of mates, Darwin (cited by Lack, 1953) stated that ‘the females are more excited by or prefer pairing with, the more ornamental males, or those which are the best songsters, or play the best antics.

The common myna or Indian myna (Acridotheres tristis) also sometime spelled mynah, in a member of family Sturnidae (Starlings and Mynas) native to Asia. An omnivorous open woodlands bird with a strong territorial instincts, the myna has adapted extremely well to urban environments. The myna has been introduced in many other parts of the world and it’s distribution range is on the increase.

The survival of an individual chiefly depends on its ecological requirements as well as its habitat composition and structure. External environment like climatic conditions, weather, natural calamity etc. regulate the activity of a species. Variations in different activities of a species are related with the suitability and abundance of its habitat. It is very important to know the ecology of a species to prepare a proper management and conservation plan.

In common myna the post-nuptial display takes place between the pairs after the copulation period is over, and it continues till the breaking up of the family. The nature of post nuptial display is similar to that of courtship display, i.e. the pairs remain in contact, often lovingly touch each other’s feathers. (Sengupta, 1969). The post-nuptial display on bond-forming display was first described by Huxely (1914) in the great crested grebe. Darwin (cited by Lack, 1953) wrote: their mutual passion and acquired knowledge, that their joint labour is necessary to produce substance for their numerous family, induces the wild birds to enter into a contract of marriage”

In case of common myna, copulation, by vent to vent lying on the ground, as observed by varghe (1935), was not observed during the study period. During the present study species have been found breeding from late April to July and maximum number of nests were found in May. The breeding season principally lasts from April to August (Lamba 1963 and Ali 1964)

For site-selection common myna preferred in the holes of trees, a beam on cornice and chimney of buildings, electric lamp post. During study period total 5 were nests were found. 2 nests were found in hole of tree, 2 nests were found in electric lamp post and 1 nest was found in old useless box. This bird has been seen to use an old crow’s nest (Currie, 1916; Ticehurst, 1922, Barnes, 1885).

The nest building was started from February and was continue up to May. The peak of the nest building period was March (5 nests). Both of them took part in nest building purpose. For the nest building they preferred hole. They build nests in hole of trees, electric lamp posts, old boxes etc. They built their nest by fine twigs, pieces of polythene, fallen leaf petiole, straws, feathers, dead leaves, coloured papers, dry grasses, worn papers, wrappers of cigarette packet, polythene, ropes etc.

Feathers increase nest insulation, but may attract predators (Welty and Baptista, 1988). In case of common myna, the nest building was completed between 5 and 15 days (Inglis, 1943). During study period it was found nest building was completed between 11-16 days.

Common myna clutch size varied from 3-5. Begum (1992) stated that clutch size varied 4-5 in common myna. The variation in clutch sizes has also been recorded by Baker (1933) and Ali (1964) on the basis of this variation Lamba (1963) has preferred to call it indeterminate layer.

During study period it was found total 7 eggs in two nests. In one nest 4 hatchings were found from 4 eggs. From 4 hatchings 1 was dead because it fallen from the nest. The nest was over the cornice. Finally 3 hatching fly away. In another nest 3 eggs were found. After few days it was found 2 eggs were missing. 1 egg was remaining. Perhaps naughty boys had stolen two eggs. Finally with one egg the bird reject that nest.

Successful feeding and survival from day to day depends on having a diet that provides an adequate balance of all essential nutrients (Durban, 1988). Animal has adopted different digestive systems, foraging and feeding strategies and social systems, optimizing food intake and reproductive success to overcome their competitors or to coexist with them (Richard,1985).

No species has a diet identical to another, and even within a species there is usually variation in diet between individuals, social groups and populations (Oates, 1987). During the study period common myna took food from a variety of sources. Jahangirnagar University campus is a suitable place for all type of birds.

Food item of common myna was dragonfly, caterpillar, larvae, ant, earthworm, rice, different type of rubbish etc. Feeding of young is generally divided evenly between the male and female. The number of feeding trips made by the parents is directly related to the number of age of the young and the time of nestling (Marshall and Russell, 1974). In the present study, the parent visited the nest with food 5-14 times per hour. During incubation period when they are in their nest they create many sounds.

Common myna is omnivorous it feeds on insects, seeds, grain and discarded waste from human habitation it forages on the ground among grasses for insects, and especially for grasshoppers, however it’s feeds on a wide range of insects, mostly picked from the ground. It is also a pollinator of flowers.

The common mynas calls include croaks, squawks, chirps, clicks, whistles and the birds often fluffs it’s feathers and bobs its head in singing.

As creature with instinct metabolism, birds require rapid powerful and efficient digestion of food. Like other animals, birds eat when they are hungry and stop eating when satiated. Birds burn up energy in the act of foraging, however, so that they should generally forage in such a way and forage such foods in that they get maximum energy in return (Welty and Baptista, 1988).

During morning time common myna feed frequently but during mid day it take more time for resting, calling and preening but in the afternoon when the bird return home it again busy for feeding. At the time of 6 am to 9 pm their main activity were feeding. After 9 pm their main activity were walking, resting, calling and preening.

Activity pattern of any species vary with the length of day and availability of food resource. During the study period common myna was found to start its activities with the sunrise and stopped with the sunset. The first activity of common myna was foraging and feeding.

In common myna both sexes take part incubation. During breeding the parent spent most of the time in the nest. Begum (1992) also observed similar activity.

During study period it was seen male comes to the nest with food during incubation and called softly: female then takes the food from the male. The male then used to guard the incubating female.

Incubation period of common myna varies from 12 to 15 days, Lamba (1963) has found it to range from 16 to 18 days.

According to Sengupta (1968) it varies from 13 to 14 days. Environmental influences may affect incubation period. Common myna ate soft pulp of ripe banyan fruit (Ficus bengalensis).

A nestling of common myna was found dead in the nests. Starvation, predation were the factors responsible for mortality of young. Nesting success appears to depend on the fertility of eggs and the damage done by the predator.

During study period, wing flapping, bathing was found very small amount. During March and April few species were seen in drinking water because during that time the climate was very hot.

During the present study common myna were observed to take bath in shallow water. This similar behavior was also observed by Khan (1977) in case of the black and orange flycatcher and by Rahman (1993) in case of jungle myna and common myna.

During study period, in case of common myna, body-shakes, and head-rubbing during preening activity was observed. These similar activities were observed by Rahaman (1993) in case of Jungle myna and common myna. Rahaman (1993) said that, body shakes, in which the wings were held away loosely from the sides and shaken up and down, followed by short, quick head-shakes, in which the head and neck were extended forward and rapidly rotated around the longitudinal body axis.

During study time common myna was found scratching but this behavior was found very small amount. Rahaman (1993) stated that, scratching was direct in the case of the jungle myna and common myna.

Interaction with other birds also showing common myna during study period. They mainly interact during feeding time and specially breeding season. They interact with jungle myna, pied myna and also other birds.

Common myna took food about 19.04% of their day time. They spent 16.18% of their day time for foraging. They spent 11.62% of their time for walking. They spent 13.68% of their day time for flying, 13.16% for resting, 15.71% for calling, 5.85% for preening and, 4.72% for breeding. They spent most of their time for feeding, then foraging, then calling, then flying, then resting, then preening, and then breeding.

Threats of Common Myna

During the study period, the population of common myna was disturbed by natural disaster as well as human induced causes. Common myna plays an important role in maintaining our ecological balance. The major threats that are involving in their declining include-

Habitat loss

Lots of tree cut in the campus. Day by vegetation destroyed in the campus. For  their  conservation  and  to  raise  their  numbers, we  must  stop  destroying natural  habitat. Conserve  the bushes,  creeping  and  grasslands  habitat  by  the  university  authority  and  make awareness  to  the  students,  visitors  and  other  personnel.

Natural calamity

Natural calamity like storms, strong wind causes the destruction of their roosting ground like trees or colony. Natural calamity also destroys the nest of common myna. Sometimes dead of hatchling and young also occur.


University weather polluted day by day. Construction of buildings, visitors comes in the campus with car etc create pollutions in the air.

Human interference

Eggs of common myna in many cases were stolen by boys for consumption and for game. When common myna build nest on building or cornice they were disturbed by man. Man destroyed them. Snake, frog etc also sometimes destroyed eggs of common myna.



The present study was conducted between January, 2011 and November, 2011 in Jahangirnagar University campus. To observe the ecology and behavior of common myna (Acridotheres tristis).

 During this present study, the daily activities of common myna were found to occur in a regular fashion. Common myna spent most of the time in feeding 20.95% mainly in the morning, noon and afternoon. The second most common activity was foraging 14.72%, walking 9.93%, breeding 6.35%, preening 5.23%. Result of the day showed that the study species spent most of their time in feeding. In terms of month it was highest in the month of November 24.83%. In case of diurnal activities, the first activity was feeding. The species starts feeding at morning. It eats more in the morning than rest of the day. Their diet was composed mainly by rice, caterpillar, earthworm, fig fruits and different types of insects. During the study period, bathing, wing flapping, sunning, drinking activities were seen in very small amount. They rest in electric pole, trees, walls, cornice, and etc. Resting was observed more or less of the whole day but it was highest in noon. During the study period highest resting was observed in November. The lowest resting was observed in May. Walking was observed in whole day but when they forage for their food they walked frequently. The highest walking was observed in January and that of lowest was in June.

There was no particular time for preening. During study period preening was seen in 5.2%. In most cases, it occurred when the study species was in resting. Self preening was observed during study period. Calling behavior was also noted during study period. Calling behavior was more during breeding season.  The overall activities of calling was 14.8%. The observed flying behavior was noticeable at evening, the time of birds returning to their nest. They also flying frequently during breeding season. The breeding season of common myna range from March to June. Male and female took part in this activity related works like nest building incubation brooding etc. A variety of plant species were identified as their nesting materials, eggs were blue color. Eggs were lost due to natural and human induced causes. The breeding success was 75%.


The present study had another finding. That was the relationship of the study species with other birds. It showed a mutual relationship with other birds that used the same ground for different purposes, like for feeding, foraging, resting place etc. Their interactions occurred with jungle myna, pied myna etc. Present study also found some threats of the study species during the study period.


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