“It is perhaps by some freak chance that I actually chose to figure out where the incessant kaeeu kaeeu kaeeu sounds were coming from, and that I had the patience to wait quietly, hidden, till the creature appeared. After a minute or so, I noticed some movement on the roof of a nearby house. It was a Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus). Soon after, two myna nestlings appeared from the small cavity under the “wavy” roof tile (below). I moved in closer to get a better view, rather conspicuously I might add, and consequently startled the wary adult. It fluttered and stood on the roof, and then took off to a nearby grass patch, its eyes fixed on me.
“It was only then I realize what I had discovered – it was a myna’s nest! Mynas, like many members of the Starling Family are hole-nesters. While some species may not be obligate hole-nesters, others often take advantage of such cavities, whether man-made or natural. This is reflected in the unmarked, blue eggs laid by Javan Mynas, which indicates the reduced need for camouflage for cavity nesters.
“This was a chance discovery, so I wasn’t blessed with the opportunity to clarify incubation periods. Neither would the eggs be openly viewable, in any case. According to the literature, Javan Mynas lay a clutch of 2–5 eggs at a time and incubate for 13–14 days in captivity. It is also probable that Javan Mynas, like many species of Asian sturnids, both sexes participate in incubating, though males contribute for only a portion of the day. This is unconfirmed and almost impossible to determine, as both sexes look identical and the nest is concealed.
“Juveniles, unlike the adults, are paler and browner, and has a white iris (as compared to the lemon yellow iris of adults). The bird on the right (above) seems to be older and more active. My personal observation is that there appears to be many more juveniles during these few months. It is thus tempting for me to assume that breeding season is in the later part of the year. Would any ornithologist like to clarify or correct this?
“As and after the juveniles fledge, they continue to be fed by the adults (above). Such food, which includes seeds, fruits or insects, is given whole and not regurgitated (at least at this stage). Pleas for food (kaeeu kaeeu kaeeu) are accompanied by the youngster’s half-flaps and wing “quivering”. This parent totally ignores the youngster.”
Lim Jun Ying
3rd January 2007
Input and images by Lim Jun Ying except bottom image by YC.