Common Mynas and their unusual nesting sites

on 9th July 2010

A pair of adult Common Mynas (Acridotheres tristis tristis) was seen by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS collecting feathers (left) from a dead Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) that was lying on the road (above). This was on 9th March 2010 in the Malaysian city of Ipoh in Perak.

The mynas were transporting the feathers to their nest on top of an old air-condition unit (right). The untidy nest was made up of lots of grass, plastic, paper, etc.

Mynas usually construct their nests with whatever material they come across, including feathers, “but it still surprised me that they would use a ‘dead colleague’ so to speak,” wrote Amar. “Well at least the Yellow-vented Bulbul’s death was not ‘wasted’.

On 18th April Amar reported two more unusual nests – one built into a crack near the top of a cement electrical pole, 4-5 meters up (left). Both adults were busy at work, getting the nest ready for their young. The second nest was a chance observation. The myna was seen flying high up to the street light, 6-7 meters up (above). The adult pair was later observed working on their nest using dried grass, plastic and paper. It is not sure if they prised the lighting structure open or found it already defective.

The Common Myna is considered some of the smartest of the urban birds. They appear to be able to survive in the concrete jungle mankind is creating.

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

2 Responses

  1. Yes, I have aso observed Mynas taking to new matiriels and new nesting places. The street lamp shade being one also. As a matter fof fact a lot of birds living close to human habitations have adapted these changes in nesting matiriel and nesting sites. The Great Tits’s favorite nesting sites are the flouroscent street lamp fitting pipes, Transformer platforms and places like that. I =think the Birds are adapting and changing their life-styles to new environmental changes.This is Good and Bad news both.

  2. These little rascals built their nests all over the places. I once saw a nest in a metal cabinet housing cable TV equipment. The gap between the cable entry and the box was so small, I just wondered how they managed to squeeze in through the gap. There was a nest in a ventilated concrete wall, typically built in electrical substation or switch room where ventilation was necessary. And there was one in a wooden box, fabricated to house a noise level meter to monitor the noise level in a neighbouring construction site. This box was made really like a nesting box with a round opening on one side. When it was about time for the chick/s to fledge, one was found dangling upside down in the air with one foot caught by the twigs unable to release itself. The parents were helpless too. I had to intervene to release it.

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