Common Hill Myna
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The common hill myna (sometimes spelled "mynah") with the scientific name
Gracula religiosa is a member of the family Sturnidae and the resident of South Asia and Southeast Asia. This friendly and perky bird is found in various parts of India.
These birds formerly referred as hill myna, is the myna bird species most commonly spotted in aviculture. There are about 12 hill myna sub species known to exist in various places like India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Java, Sumatra, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Philippines. The quick classification of the common hill myna is as below,
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They possess large white patches on the wing, which are best seen
during their flight and mostly covered when the bird is sitting. The bill of the hill myna is bright yellow. The legs are strong and are brightly colored with yellow. One could see yellow colored wattles on the nape and under the eye. The size of the yellow coloration on the naked eye patch makes the hill mynah subspecies look different among themselves.
In Common hill myna, yellow wattles extend from the eye to the nape, where they join.In the Sri Lankan hill myna one could observe a single wattle traversing the nape and expanding a bit towards the eyes.
While in southern hill myna, the wattles are separate and curve towards the top of the head. Sexes look similar.The juveniles have a bill with dull yellow color and the plumage also looks dull. The glossy black colored plumage renders different colors like green, turquoise and purple when struck by light. They are about 29 cm in length larger than a common myna species. They weigh about 170 to 260 grams and are 10 to 12 inches long
Hill mynahs unlike other mynah species prefer a hopping method to move around. In trees, they move from branch to branch by means of sideways hops. Before sunset, they become active and start calling and answering to one another until they disperse to their sleeping places. There are about 13 calls of hill mynah being recognized and some of their calls include shrill whistling, gurgling and screeching noises. It is well known for its ability to mimic human speeches and other noises. Mynahs mostly travel in pairs at times as flock containing 100 birds.
Subspecies and the Places Found:
Twelve subspecies of the common hill myna are recognized as such, 1. Ceylon Hill Mynah (Gracula religiosa ptilogenys) Common names: Ceylon Mynah, Sri Lankan Mynah Places found: Sri Lanka Description: It is the smallest of the Hill Mynahs approx. 8.5 inches in length. This is the only Hill Mynah subspecies that lacks wattles on sides of face but have wattles on neck. They are usually made as pet since they are silent birds and talk well.
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2. Lesser Hill Mynah (Gracula religiosa indica)
Common names:Lesser Hill Mynah, Southern Hill Mynah
Places found:Sri Lanka and South-west India
Description:The back wattle patches curve upwards to the crown forming a U shape. The eye and nape patches are left unjoint. The beak is slightly narrower. They are 9 to 10 inches in length. They are sold as pet birds since they mimic human speech. 3. Andaman Hill Mynah (Gracula religiosa andamanensis) Common names: Andaman Mynah, Nicobar Mynah Places found: The Andaman and Nicobar Islands Description: This species have no feathered part in between and on both sides they possess large naked lappets joined at the back of the neck at the top end. 4. Palawan Hill Mynah (Gracula religiosa palawanensis) Common names: Philippine Talking Mynah, Palawan Mynah Places found: Palawan Island in Philippines Description: The bird is 12 to 13 inches in length, smaller in size and has a short and deep bill. The bare skin patches below and behind the eye are isolated and the wattles on the back of the nape are slightly divided. 5. Enggano Hill Mynah (Gracula religiosa enggano) Common name: Enggano Hill Mynah Places found: Enggano Island, west of southern tip of Sumatra Description: This bird is 10.5 inches long. The feathers at the sides of forehead are larger and directed upwards to form tufts at the base of the upper mandible and also has a shorter stubbier bill. 6. Greater Indian Hill Mynah (Gracula religiosa intermedia) Common names: Greater Indian Hill Mynah, , Talking Mynah, Indian Grackle, Nepal Mynah Places found: Assam, northern India, Burma, Nepal, Thailand, and the Himalayas. Description: The eye and nape patches of this species seem to be joined. The Greater Hill Mynah is imported for pet trade. This species is 10 to 11.5 inches long.
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7. Greater Indian Hill Mynah (Gracula religiosa peninsularis)
Common names:Indian Grackle, Greater Indian Hill Mynah
Places found:Typically found in Indian peninsula. Spotted to North-east of the Deccan, particularly in Orissa, northern Andhra Pradesh and also in eastern Madhya Pradesh.
Description:They have a shorter and finer bill. 8. Java Hill Mynah (Gracula religiosa religiosa) Common names: Java Hill Mynah, Talking Mynah Places found: Even though, they are native to Java and Sumatra they are distributed in other places like Borneo, Bali, Bangka Island and Malaysia. Description: The Java Hill Mynah is imported for pet trade but not in great numbers like Greater Indian Hill Mynahs. This species is 12 inches long.
9. Sumbawa Hill Mynah (Gracula religiosa venerata) Common name: Sumbawa Mynah Places found: Sumbawa in the Lesser Sundas Islands between Bali and Timor Description: This species is 12 to 13 inches long.
10. Flores Hill Mynah (Gracula religiosa mertensi) Common name: Flores Hill Mynah Places found: Flores, Alor and Pantar. Description: They are assumed to be larger than the species G. r. venerata
11. Batu Hill Mynah (Gracula religiosa batuensis) Common name: Batu Mynah Places found: Mentawai and Batu Islands off the northwest coast of Sumatra. Description: The Batu Mynah is somewhat smaller than the Nias Hill Mynah. Compared to Nias Hill Mynah they have similar wattle configuration and the feet and beak looks shorter.
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12. Nias Hill Mynah (Gracula religiosa robusta)
Common names:Nias Island Mynah, Nias Hill Mynah
Places found:West Sumatran islands of Tuangku, Babi, and Bangkaru.
Description:The Nias Hill Mynah is a calm bird and is the largest of all the Hill mynahs.They are 16 inches long and weigh about 400 grams. The Nias Hill Mynah is considered as endangered species because they are threatened by trappers and due to the loss of habitat as a result of deforestation.
Common hill mynah are distributed in various ranges like east and north-east India, Western Ghats of India, east to southern China, and south through south-east Asia to Palawan (Philippines), Borneo, and Flores (Indonesia).This species occur typically in moist or semi-evergreen forest in lowlands, mountains and hills. In hill forest their range probably falls between 1000 feet and 5000 feet. Because of deforestation they prefer staying at highlands rather than the lowlands. They prefer areas where high rainfall and humidity is available and spend most of their lives in trees, dwelling in dense jungle forests. They are also found in tea and coffee plantations.
Mating and Nesting:
Breeding seasons varies from one place to another. In northern India the breeding season falls between April and July. A pair of mynahs will lay two to three clutches each year. A single clutch may contain two or three eggs, rarely it may contain a single egg also. A pair of mynahs nest 10 to 40 feet above the ground, in a hole in a tall tree.
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The entrance of the hole is so small such that they can barely squeeze them inside.
The nest is built using twigs, leaves, a little dirt and by the feathers the birds have collected. The eggs look pale blue to pale green-blue, with tiny brown speckles and blotches.Both sexes involve in incubation of the eggs and the process goes for about 13 to 17 days. The female stays more time in the nest than the male. Both male and female feed the young ones together and leave them unattended when they move out of the nest in search of food. The parents prefer eating insects and small lizards, etc.
They regurgitate and feed to their babies during this time and they love eating fruits too. The young ones fledge after 25 to 28 days. They become independent very soon since their parents soon start another clutch. At the end of the breeding season, the mynahs migrate to areas where they find ripen fruits, especially figs in abundant.
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has categorized Common hill mynah as "Least concern" since they appear in large number and could multiply quickly. Around 20,000 birds caught from wild are brought for trade every year which includes both adults and juveniles. It is the most admired avian pets in Asia due to its capability to mimic noises and human speech. Pet trade in addition to habitat loss has impacted the population growth of this species. In India, the population of birds is declining significantly due to the illegal domestic pet trade.
Interesting facts about Common hill mynah:1. Around 13 calls of hill myna are recorded
2. Hill mynah are described as the best talking birds in the world
3. The life span of hill myna is about 12 to 25 years
4. A group of mynas is referred as a "local" or a "statutory"