Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Acridotheres javanicus Cabanis, 1851

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Passeriformes
Family:Sturnidae
Genus:Acridotheres
Species:A. javanicus
Common Names:Javan Myna, White-vented Myna
Status:Common resident. Introduced.

Description

The Javan Myna originates from Java and was introduced in Singapore via the cage bird trade. The species was established in Singapore since 1925 and is now the most abundant bird locally. It is clad in grey plumage. Two distinct white patches can be clearly seen on the underside of the wings during flight.

Size: 24–25 cm

Read more about the Passeriformes order.
Read more about the Sturnidae family.

Localities

Found throughout Singapore and its offshore islands.

Locality Map

General Biology

The Javan Myna is widespread in all terrestrial habitats except the forest interior. They form communal roosts in urban areas and have become a nuisance because of their loud, noisy squabbling when settling down to roost. Their droppings litter roadsides and parking lots, where they roost in the trees. They regularly indulge in noisy fights.

They are not fussy about where they make their nest, which can be in a tree hole, or under the eaves of houses or in expansion gaps in bridges and MRT lines. These flexibilities in their diet and nesting habits allow them to be the most successful species in Singapore, out-competing its larger relative, the Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis), which is no longer found in large flocks. They are also attracted to human activities, especially when such activities stir up insects that they can easily snap.

This is one of the few species of birds that have been reported to indulging in anting - as a means of feather maintenance (Wee, 2008). In fact it had been actually photographed anting. A leucistic Javan Myna was even spotted anting within the grounds of the Singapore Botanical Gardens. Normally leucistic birds will not be accepted by others of the same species. However, one case was reported that it was fully accepted  by members of its flock, as was a pair of partially leucisitc birds at Pasir Ris, sighted in January 2012.

They are regularly hunted by raptors, like the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), but they are not at all timid, as has been docuented confronting a monitor lizard.

Diet

The Javan Mynas have a varied diet, including food scraps left behind by humans. Some individuals can even hop onto a tree trunk and hunt insects under the bark, or forage near the coast, like waders. They regularly follow grass cutters to catch displaced insects; as well as wildboars and water buffaloes, as reported from Malaysia. In terms of animal prey, they take gecko, dragonflies and centipedes, among others. 

They have been known to eat overripe fruits of the Madras Thorn (Pithecellobium dulce) that caused them stagger around in a typsy manner. Fruits of noni (Morinda cirtifolia), White-stemmed Button Vine (Cissus hastata), Claoxylon indicum as well as nectar of the flowers of the umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla), African Tulip (Spathodea campanulata), Golden Penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus) are part of their diet.

Records

Javan Mynas had apparently descended from cage-birds originating in Java (Chasen, 1925). A feral population has been present in Singapore since at least 1925. By the mid 1930s, it was well established in a few localities on the edge of town but by no means numerous (Gibson-Hill, 1952). A few pairs had established themselves before the war; in recent years, has grown more plentiful (Gibson-Hill, 1949). By 1952, still not yet reported from any of the off-lying islands (Gibson-Hill, 1952).

References

Chasen, F. N., 1925. Further remarks on the birds of Singapore Island. Singapore Naturalist, 5: 71–73.

Gibson-Hill, C. A., 1949. An annotated checklist of the birds of Malaya. Bulletin of the Raffles Museum, 20: 5–299.

Gibson-Hill, C. A., 1952. Ornithological notes from the Raffles Museum, Nos. 15–22. Bulletin of the Raffles Museum, 24: 220–343.

Wang, L. K., 2011. Mynas. Pp. 388–389. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors). Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore. 552 pp.

Wang, L. K. & C. J. Hails, 2007. An annotated checklist of the birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1–179.

Wee, Y. C., 2008. Anting in Singapore birds. Nature in Singapore, 1:23–25.

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