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A photo of a Crested Myna (Acridotheres cristatellus)
Crested Myna

Crested Myna

Acridotheres cristatellus

The Crested Myna, Acridotheres cristatellus, also known as the Chinese Starling, is a striking bird with a distinctive tuft of feathers on its forehead, giving the appearance of a crest. This species exhibits a predominantly black plumage with a subtle green sheen. Notable are the white wing patches beneath its wings, which become conspicuous in flight. The bird's eyes are a vivid orange, the bill a pale yellow, and the legs a muted dark yellow.

Identification Tips

Adult Crested Mynas can be identified by their sharp, slender bills and the white tips and bases of their primaries. The tail feathers, save for the central pair, are tipped with white, and the under-tail coverts are black with white tips. Males are marginally larger than females, and while females also possess a crest, it is less pronounced. Juveniles are distinguishable by their blue-gray eyes and brown feathering, with an underdeveloped crest.

Habitat

The Crested Myna thrives in open spaces near urban and agricultural settings. It is often found in cities, perching on buildings, bridges, and trees, or foraging in parks and gardens. In rural landscapes, it frequents fields, orchards, and farmyards, taking advantage of the insects stirred up by livestock or farming activities.

Distribution

Native to southeastern China and Indochina, the Crested Myna's range includes the Yangtze valley and southeastern Jiangxi Province in China, with sightings in Burma, Taiwan, and Hainan. Introduced populations have been noted in Vancouver, British Columbia, though now locally extinct, as well as in Lisbon, Portugal, where they have established a presence.

Behaviour

Crested Mynas are sociable birds, often seen in small family groups or larger flocks. They are known to build nests in a variety of urban and natural structures, from chimneys to tree cavities. These birds are double-brooded, typically producing two clutches per breeding season.

Song & Calls

The Crested Myna boasts a diverse vocal repertoire, including whistles, warbles, and chortles. When disturbed, it may emit a raspy "jaaay" or a series of "chuffs" or "creeks." While capable of mimicking human speech and other birds, captive individuals are not particularly adept at mimicry.

Breeding

Nesting occurs in a range of settings, with the first clutch laid in late April or May and a second clutch from June to mid-August. The eggs are light blue-green, resembling those of robins, and clutches typically contain 4-6 eggs. Hatchlings emerge altricial and are cared for by both parents until they fledge and leave the nest, though they remain in family groups for feeding and travel.

Diet and Feeding

An omnivorous feeder, the Crested Myna's diet includes insects, fruit, grains, and occasionally garbage. Dietary composition shifts seasonally, with a higher proportion of animal matter consumed by juveniles. Insects, particularly flies, become a more significant component of the diet in September, while garbage intake increases during winter months when other food sources are scarce.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Crested Myna as Least Concern, with a stable population trend and a range exceeding 20,000 km². The species is not considered vulnerable based on criteria related to range size, population trends, or population size.

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