“From the close-up images of the Javan Myna’s head (left top), it could be seen that this bird had lost quite a large patch of its feathers. Areas around its forehead, crown, neck, nape, chin and throat were affected. However, newly emerging *pin feathers(?) were seen to be covering these bald areas. *Or could they be remnants of old feathers that had been shed? The feathers on other parts its body appeared intact and relatively unaffected.
“Amongst the local avian species, the Common Mynas seem more prone to losing feathers on their heads (left bottom). Sightings of Common Mynas that are bald or botak are pretty common. Other species does not seem to have this problem. Although Javan Mynas are more abundant than Common Mynas, the sighting of this partially bald Javan Myna, was the first balding Javan that I have observed.
“Despite the common occurrence of bald-headed Common Mynas, very little is known on its cause. Moulting, fighting, nutrient deificiencies, and mites could be some of the causes that may contribute to the shedding of feathers. Coincidentally, on the same day that this Javan Myna was sighted, a Common Myna with a balding head was also seen. Except for its crown, this Common Myna had lost almost all its head feathers.
“I would be pleased if anybody can shed some light on the balding of the mynas. Why is the head affected, but not other parts of the body? Will new feathers grow in the bald headed Common Mynas? Tho se that I have seen did not seem to have any sign of new pin feathers emerging on their heads unlike this balding Javan Myna.”
Kwong Wai Chong
8th September 2010
*The white shafts on the head of the Javan Myna are actually pin feathers – newly emerging feathers whose vanes have yet to burst out from their sheaths.