Javan Myna

on 21st January 2007

“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.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

One Response

  1. Some of the best birding pictures we have are from chance encounters (my brother the Birdfreak and I like to call it “Dumb Luck!” One of my favorite thing about watching birds is that it never grows old.

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