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A photo of a Common Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa)
Common Hill Myna

Common Hill Myna

Gracula religiosa

The Common Hill Myna, Gracula religiosa, is a robust, starling family member, cloaked in a glossy black plumage with a striking purple hue on its head and neck. This bird, approximately 29 cm in length, is adorned with bright orange-yellow patches of naked skin and fleshy wattles on the side of its head and nape, distinguishing it from its relatives.

Identification Tips

When perched, the large white wing patches of the Common Hill Myna are mostly concealed, yet they become quite conspicuous in flight. The bird's bill and strong legs are a vivid yellow, complemented by yellow wattles on the nape and under the eye, which vary subtly in shape among the species' subspecies.

Habitat

The Common Hill Myna is an arboreal creature, preferring the tree-tops at the forest's edge, where it moves in large, noisy groups.

Distribution

This species is native to the hill regions of South Asia and Southeast Asia, extending from Kumaon division in India through Nepal, Bhutan, and Arunachal Pradesh, and further east to southern China, Thailand, and northern Indonesia to Palawan in the Philippines.

Behaviour

The Common Hill Myna exhibits a unique sideways hop along branches, unlike the jaunty walk typical of other mynas. It is most vocal at dawn and dusk, and while it does not mimic other birds in the wild, it is an exceptional mimic of human speech in captivity.

Song & Calls

The bird's vocal repertoire is extensive, with each individual capable of producing a range of loud calls, from whistles to melodious human-like sounds. These calls are learned when young and can vary significantly over short distances.

Breeding

Nesting occurs in tree holes, with a usual clutch of two or three eggs. There is no sexual dimorphism, which limits the possibility of selecting mates based on sex.

Similar Species

The Common Hill Myna can be differentiated from other mynas by its larger size, distinctive wattles, and the lack of eye-patch seen in species like the Common Myna and Bank Myna.

Diet and Feeding

An omnivorous diet sustains the Common Hill Myna, with its food consisting of fruit, nectar, and insects.

Conservation status

The IUCN lists the Common Hill Myna as a Species of Least Concern on a global scale. However, regional declines due to habitat destruction and the pet trade have been noted, prompting conservation measures such as CITES Appendix II listing and local initiatives to encourage sustainable breeding practices.

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