Hybrid Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus torquatus – 1. Remarks

posted in: Species | 2
Typical Jungle Myna
Typical Jungle Myna

“Due to the presence of the juvenile Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus), there has been an influx of mynas in my neighbourhood; at times in excess of 15 birds. The majority are Common Mynas (Acridotheres tristis) but a number of Jungle Mynas (Acridotheres fuscus) also turn up when the Koel calls.

Possible Hybrid Jungle Myna
Possible Hybrid Jungle Myna

“I saw this Jungle Myna with odd plumage suggesting a hybrid bird:

1. The blue at the base of the bill, which is unique to the Jungle Mynas, supports the identification (see images: above and below) but the plumage is pale compared to the usual Jungle Mynas (top).

Possible Hybrid Jungle Myna
Possible Hybrid Jungle Myna

2. I considered a juvenile bird but the yellow iris supports an adult (juveniles light blue or blue-white); although it could still be an immature.

Possible Hybrid Jungle Myna
Possible Hybrid Jungle Myna

3. I considered some element of leucism (leucistic bird) but the plumage seems well defined and it looks almost like a Pale-bellied Myna (Acridotheres cinereus) which is not found in the region.

MynaJ-hybrid [AmarSingh] 4

4. Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) hybrids with Jungle Mynas are recognised (Wells 2007) but the predominant Myna we have in the area is the Common Myna; Javan Mynas are still rare. So it is a possibly hybrid of a Jungle Myna with a Common Myna.

5. The other Jungle Myna who was present did not socially accept this bird and it was displaced from feeding on a papaya.

“Appreciate any opinions. More images possible on request.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
26th July 2017

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Urban environment


2 Responses

  1. Amar-Singh HSS

    Species: Variant Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus torquatus
    Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
    Habitat: Urban environment
    Date: 26th July 2017
    Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, handheld

    I would like to thank those that responded to the above post on the unusual Jungle Myna. Three bird watching colleagues from the region responded to say they have seen similar birds and agreed it is not a hybrid.

    Hein van Grouw, an expert on colour aberrations & leucism in birds, responded (via a kind intermediary) to say “An interesting case. Hard to tell whether it is a hybrid or not without measurements etc. I agree that it looks more like an aberrantly coloured individual rather than a hybrid, but I cannot be sure. If it is an aberration, then it is certainly not one of the ‘common ones’ like Brown, Progressive Greying, Ino, Dilution or leucism. In this bird the whole colour pattern is changed. Certain forms of melanism (I call them melanism) do change the colour pattern, so it may be an example of one of these.”

    Dr David Wells was very kind to respond twice and offer a definitive opinion:
    “Not a hybrid. This paling of the underparts (varied extent) is an occasional but not too rare mutation in the Pen. Malaysian population of Jungle Myna, known since the 19the century. In fact, the name ‘torquatus’ is based on one of these variants (from Pahang) that the describer, W.R. Davison, thought at the time was a separate species. Davison’s original aberrant Jungle specimens were collected in Pahang at least 50 years before any other Myna species, House included, invaded the Malay states.”

    I had misread the comments made in Well 2007 on this variant species.

    Update/Note: The juvenile Koel has now amassed > 25 Mynas in the neighbourhood, 4 of them being Jungle Mynas. Becoming increasing more difficult to spot the Koel.

    Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)
    Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

  2. BESG

    Apologies Amar. I was planning to post the above as a second part to this post tomorrow. In hindsight I should have added a paragraph to inform readers of my intention. Will still do so…

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