The Indian Myna birds were first recorded in the Tweed in 2002. Since then local populations have grown at a rapid rate.
Also know as Common Myna or House Myna, they thrive in habitat created by humans, such as urban, industrial and agricultural areas and areas of open woodland.
Indian Mynas are a serious threat to the survival of our native wildlife as they are a hollow-nesting species.
During nesting season, they become very aggressive and take over hollows that would have been used by our hollow-dependant species, such as lorikeets and rosellas, kookaburras and sugar gliders. If a hollow is already occupied, they will evict the occupant, even animals as big as possums.
Council has an Indian Myna control program to encourage residents to control the birds on their property. The program loans Indian Myna traps for ls catching the Indian Mynas unharmed (they are designed to exclude our native bird species).
If you're interested in controlling Indian Mynas book online to take part in an Indian Myna trap training day. These session are held on the first Tuesday of every month at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre.
Contact the Indian Myna Control Officer at Tweed Shire Council on 02 6670 2400 for more information.
Introduced pests versus local native honeyeaters
Recognising Indian Myna
The Indian Myna is a very distinctive bird:
- medium sized chocolate-brown bird with a black head and neck
- Iabout 25 cm tall
- yellow beak, eye patch, feet and legs
- white wing patches that are obvious when the birds are flying
- walks (or struts) rather than hops.
Our native Noisy Miner
The Noisy Miner is native to Australia. The native Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala) is a honeyeater that is sometimes confused with the Indian Myna.
Although the Noisy Miner and the Indian Myna both have yellow skin behind the eye and a yellow beak and legs, you can distinguish the native Noisy Miner by its predominantly grey body.
While this bird may be noisy around the garden and can be territorial, it does not pose the same threat to other birds as the Indian Myna, and is a protected species.
Indian Myna control programs
A local and global problem
Globally, Indian Mynas are a widely recognised as a serious threat to biodiversity. In 2000, the species was listed among 100 of the Worlds Most Alien Invasive Species by the World Conservation Union, alongside species such as the fox, the cane toad and the feral pig.
The awareness in Australia is also rising about the impacts Indian Myna is having on our native fauna. During 2004, the Indian Myna was voted the Pest of Australia in the ABC WildWatch Australia survey.
The Indian Myna is a highly intelligent and aggressive bird that successfully competes with our native species for food and nesting sites. As Indian Mynas nest in hollows, the negative impacts from this species are particularly high on hollow-dependant mammals and birds.
- Major damage to soft fruit crops such as Bananas and Papaya.
- Accumulated droppings, particularly under communal roost sites. These droppings are problematic for a number of reasons, not least because they pose a threat to human health and they are a source of nutrient enrichment to waterways.
- Building large untidy nests, using sticks, straw, feathers and rubbish, like scraps of paper and plastic, in roof spaces and cavities, which are a fire risk and an entry point for bird mites into houses. Bird mites bite, and they can cause asthma and hay fever if inhaled.
- Noise at night from communal roosts near residential areas.
- The potential to spread weed species. As Indian Mynas consume the fruits of exotic plant species they can assist in the spread of exotic weed species, such as Lantana.
- Consuming feed intended for domestic pets and livestock.
What can you do?
Council is coordinating a program to support the community with Indian Myna control. Through this program, community members can borrow an Indian Myna trap for a $20 refundable deposit. Find out more by speaking with our Wildlife Protection Project Officer on 02 6670 2400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other things you can do include:
- Feed pets indoors, or clear away when they’ve finished. Don’t leave compost or rubbish bins uncovered as Mynas like to scavenge.
- make sure that Indian Mynas do not have access to feed intended for your livestock. Where possible, feed livestock only as much as they need at the time, cover the feed bins and clean up any spills.
- Block holes in roofs or eaves to prevent Mynas from roosting or nesting – make sure you don’t accidentally trap a possum, bat or other native species.
- Restore disturbed sites with native vegetation that is local to your area will assist in providing habitat more suited to native bird species than Indian Mynas.
- If you use nesting boxes to encourage wildlife, try to use a nest box with a baffle or a backwards facing entry. This will allow access to small possums, gliders, small bats and some native birds while excluding common Myna birds.
Report Indian Myna sightings
The MynaScan Community Website allows you to map sightings of introduced myna birds and the problems they are causing in your local area.
Tweed catch count
As at December 2015
10600 Indian Mynas caught by volunteer members of the community since August 2008.