Indian Myna control program
The Indian Myna (Acriodotheres tristus), also known as the Common Myna, was intentionally introduced to Australia from southern Asia in the late 1860s to control insects in the fields around Melbourne. The population rapidly established along the eastern coast of Australia, and they are now commonly found in urban environments and agricultural areas.
Indian Mynas are scavengers and are able to utilise a wide range of food types including insects, fruits, vegetables, pet food and stock feed.
At night they gather to sleep in communal roosts in large dense trees or buildings.
Why they're considered a pest
Indian Mynas are ranked as one of the world's 100 most invasive species (International Union for Conservation of Nature). They are:
- extremely aggressive, competing with native wildlife for scarce resources, eg, Rosellas for tree hollows. They evict animals and birds from their nests, destroy eggs and attack chicks of other species. They breed in tree hollows rendering them un-useable by other wildlife, including arboreal mammals (ie, possums, gliders etc.)
- an agricultural pest, exploiting stock feed and causing damage to fruit and grain crops
- carriers of bird mites and other diseases; inhaled mites can cause asthma and hayfever. They also spread rubbish about when they forage in open rubbish bins, creating a further public health risk.
What they look like
The Indian Myna (Common Myna) is a chocolate brown bird, about 12cm tall, with a black head and neck. A striking yellow beak, eye patch, feet and legs are also distinguishing features.
The Common Myna is sometimes confused with the Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala). The Noisy Miner is slightly larger (24cm - 29cm) than the Common Myna and its body is mostly grey.
Although both species have similar common names, the Noisy Miner is a native honeyeater. Both of these species have yellow bills, legs and bare eye skin, however, the Common Myna has large white wing patches that are visible when in flight.
What Council is doing
More than nine years of persistence and community collaboration has resulted in a growing number of areas across Eurobodalla Shire now free of Indian Mynas.
Council initiated the shire-wide Indian Myna Control Program to limit the population of these destructive birds in 2009 by offering residents volunteer-made traps to humanely catch Indian Mynas for the purpose of euthanasia, and Council continues to support this vital environmental program.
You can contact Council to borrow a trap or seek assistance with trapping.
What you can do to help
Whilst trapping has been considerably successful in reducing Myna numbers in Eurobodalla shire residents' backyards, there are a number of things you can do easily and immediately to help reduce the prevalence of Indian Mynas in your local area, such as:
- Refrain from feeding birds as this often encourages Myna birds - native birds prefer to forage on native flowers and seeds.
- Do not leave uneaten pet food outside and feed pets indoors where possible.
- Cover compost bins.
- Prevent access to poultry and stock feed where ever possible.
- Ensure that rubbish bins and other potential food sources are covered.
- Block holes in roofs and eaves to stop Indian Mynas nesting.
- Remove weeds, especially berry producing weeds such as privet, asparagus fern, ochna, African olive and camphor laurel.
- Plant native trees and shrubs to reduce open areas in gardens. Avoid exotic tree species commonly used as roosts eg, pines and palms.
- Keep an eye on hollow trees and check for Indian Myna presence.
- Find and destroy nests.
- Monitor Indian Myna populations around your home and local area, including reporting roost tree locations to Council.
- NSW Government Department of Primary Industries: Myna birds
- Department of Planning and Environment: How do I deal with Indian Mynas?
- Birds in Backyards: Common Myna
- RSPCA: Management of Common (Indian) Myna birds - Information Paper
- Canberra Indian Myna Action Group: Indian Mynas or native species?
If you need more information about the Indian Myna Control Program, or if you would like to report a sighting or nesting activity, please contact Council’s Natural Resource Officer, Courtney Fink-Downes:
- T: 4474 1000
- E: Natural Resource Officer