Javan Myna with deformed wing

posted in: Morphology-Develop. | 3

“Some time ago there was a discussion on this website as to whether or not birds could survive long with wing deformities or injuries. The attached pictures show a Javan Mynah (Acridotheres javanicus) with an obviously deformed or injured wing that has survived for more than six months in the vicinity of my garden.

“When I first noticed this bird, it spent a lot of time walking. I attempted to capture it to examine the deformity. However, it was capable of flight, though somewhat laboured. Over the months, its flying abilities appear to have improved – to the point where it is capable of an almost vertical take-off.

“But the deformity or injury to the wing is still obvious to any observer.

“I postulate the following reasons for this bird’s survival.

1. It is in an environment where food is plentiful. Most of my neighbours and I keep pets, and do not object to birds scavenging left-over pet food.

2. It had a chance to recuperate (or learn to live with the deformity if it had been a congenital one) until it gained sufficient flight skills.

3. This bird has learned to be exceptionally wary. It will not allow as close an approach as other Javan Mynahs normally would.”

Lee Chiu San
5th February 2013

3 Responses

  1. Angel

    My mum and I found a juvenile javan mynah which seems to have a leg injury. It’s right “toes” are straight, instead of curved like the left ones, so when he stands, he topples over cos the right leg cannot support his weight. Anyone has any idea what we can do to help?

  2. Lee Chiu San

    I hope that the problem is one of injury rather than of disease. Birds are susceptible to all kinds of disease-related problems that leave them with physical deformities. However, many survive.

    You can raise the Javan Mynah the cheap way on a diet of moistened chicken feed, dog food or cat food. However, the proper diet for a baby bird is Hand Feeding Formula, which costs about S$5 for a week’s supply, available from many pet shops. I get mine from Goodwill Birds Trading at Block 151 Serangoon North Avenue 2.

    If the bird can eat on its own, well and good. If not, you may have to hand-feed it at three-hourly intervals.

    Please remember that once you think the bird has recovered, you cannot just boot it out to fend for itself. It has to be re-introduced to the wild gradually. With food and water available, leave the cage door open. Let the bird decide when it wants to go out. And leave food and water in the cage for at least a week, even if the bird is not there. It may find foraging outside to be tough going, and may need to come home to refill before venturing out again.

    As for what happens if the deformity is permanent? I have seen many Javan Mynahs with toes, and even a leg missing. They seem able to cope.

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