Breed Profile - Birds' Eye View
The Common Mynah is a member of the family Sturnidae (starlings and mynas) native to Asia. An omnivorous open woodland bird with a strong territorial instinct, the Mynah has adapted extremely well to urban environments.
The Common Mynah is an important motif in Indian culture and appears both in Sanskrit and Prakrit literature. 'Mynah' is derived from the Hindi language mainā which itself is derived from Sanskrit madanā.
The range of the Common Mynah is increasing at such a rapid rate that in 2000 the IUCN Species Survival Commission declared it one of the world's most invasive species and one of only three birds in the top 100 species that pose an impact to biodiversity, agriculture and human interests.
Mynahs make fascinating pets and are the best mimics in the world of birds. Categorised amongst the soft-bills, these playful birds require special care, especially when it comes to diet. It is also important to note that they are very active birds and require a lot of space. If you think a mynah is the bird for you, then read on.
It is important that you obtain your mynah bird from a reputable domestic mynah breeder, so as to avoid supporting wildlife smugglers, who are responsible for the deaths of vast numbers of birds captured in the wild. Because mynahs can, and should, only be obtained through domestic breeders, it may be a challenge to obtain one; however, there are a number of online resources that will assist you in locating a good breeder.
The most popular pet mynah species are the Greater Indian Hill mynah and the Java Hill mynah. Java Hill mynahs are the larger of the two and are notable for having a clearer, more human-like voice. On the other-hand Greater Indian Hill mynahs are known to be easier to handle. Mynahs do well on their own but a pair is also acceptable. They tend to make more noise when there are two, and do better in an outdoor aviary.
It is advisable to house your mynah in a large cage with a few perches made of natural branches, as they do not climb but only fly and hop. A cage with a grated floor is best as it allows for easy cleaning of the newspaper lined catch tray. A shelf and a nest box will make your mynah feel right at home. The mynahs cage should be put in a busy part of the home as they are gregarious and enjoy company. Avoid drafty spots and direct sunlight. Include a bathing dish in the cage, along with a water bottle or dish. Be sure to keep both sources of water clean. Supply your very active bird with toys such as mirrors, bells, swings, bottle caps, paper and so forth. Be careful of rope toys as these may catch the tongue of your mynah.
Mynahs require a specialised diet as hemochromatosis is common. This is a disease that causes too much iron to collect in the bird's liver, resulting in the bird being poisoned. As such, the mynah must be fed a low iron diet, preferably soft-bill food that has been formulated to meet their needs. Avoid things such as parrot food, red meat, acidic fruits, seeds and live foods. Recommended fruits to accompany the Pelleted diets include apple, banana, melon and grapes, with the seeds removed. Keep the food dishes clean and the cage free of uneaten food items that may spoil. You may wish to give your mynah distilled water if you are concerned about the iron content in your water.
While there are number of considerations to take into account before bringing a pet mynah into your home, if you do decide to do so you will find it a truly rewarding experience.
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