I was at the Singapore Botanic Gardens a few days ago and was fascinated to see four Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) (left top) and a single Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) cooperating in a foraging exercise. They were in a single file spaced about 40 cm apart and moving together on the lawn. As they moved forward, one or two birds broke formation to pick up a morsel. But they returned to maintain the single formation.
Initially the Common Myna was on the right end of the formation but as the birds moved forward, it changed places with the other Javan Mynas. In the image on the left it is second from the right.
Over at my neighbour’s small patch of garden, two grasscutters were operating their noisy lawn mower and portable cutter (right). Over and above this din was the noisy chatter of mynas, sounding as if a fight was under way.
Yes, it was a squabble. A small group of Javan Mynas was fighting over the privilege of foraging around the immediate vicinity of the gardeners. As the grass was being mown and trimmed, insects and other invertebrates were being exposed and these birds were excitedly having a feast.
So bold were the birds that they moved very close to the feet of the gardeners, ignoring the blades and the noise.
I once witnessed a grass cutting session in the field overlooking Tan Tock Seng Hospital. The cutters were driving grass-cutting contraptions as the field was large. And a small flock of mynas was noisily hovering around, following the machine and having a great time finding food.