Sturnidae - Acridotheres tristis

What does it look like?

The myna is a tropical bird first introduced into New Zealand in the 1870s.  Mynas did not appear north of the Waikato until the 1950s.  Once they reached Northland and our warmer climate, their numbers increased dramatically.

Mynas are stocky brown birds with a shiny black head and shoulders. They are commonly seen in pairs or in small family groups. Adult primaries are black when new but fade to brown. The base of primaries is white and all upper and lower coverts are also white. The tail is black when new, all feathers tipped in white which abrades off during the breeding season. The bill and naked eye surround is bright yellow. The iris is dark brown over grey, with distinct white flecks. Legs are yellow brown and the claws horn-coloured. Juveniles are of paler plumage, the bill is light yellow streaked with dark grey, and the skin around the eye is white for the first two weeks. Juvenile tail feathers are without white tips and the iris is grey.

Similar species: there are no similar species in New Zealand; the common starling is the only other member of same family.

Why is it a problem?

Mynas are territorial and aggressive toward other birds and have been known to remove native species from their nests for their own use. Where mynas gather in large numbers to feed on stock food, crops or fruit, they cause considerable economic loss.

Control Methods

Bread laced with alphachloralose poison paste is the best method of control.  Mynas should be pre-fed non-toxic bread bait for around a week, preferably at the same time and place each day, before the poison is added.

This should not be attempted unless all birds can be killed on the first attempt, as otherwise it will just disperse the remainder onto another area. You must have a license for using a firearm. Use a gun with extreme care, especially when there are likely to be people or animals in the vicinity.

Bird scaring devices
A wide variety of devices are available.  When using bird scaring devices it is important to remember that birds quickly become accustomed to scaring devices, which should be used as infrequently as possible and only when a crop is at the vulnerable stage. Be sure to use a variety of devices so birds do not become familiar with one type. Also:

  • Remove any device that appears to have lost its effectiveness.
  • Change the position as frequently as possible.  Even moving them a short distance adds to the confusion and increases effectiveness.
  • Devices can be reinforced by occasionally shooting in the area so birds relate the shooting to the scare device