A versatile and supreme opportunist, the omnivorous common myna consumes a wide variety of food types, including frogs, snails, birds’ eggs and nestlings and other animal matter, as well as fruits and seeds. Typically, it scavenges on the ground at refuse heaps in urban areas, and in rural areas it is often found following ploughs to feed on upturned insects. It also regularly settles on the back of cattle to remove ticks from them (2). During periods when insects are scarce, fruits and seeds make up most of its diet, and at such times the species can become a serious agricultural pest (6). As a highly sociable species, the common myna often feeds in small flocks, as well as gathering into large roosts that sometimes comprise tens of thousands of birds (2).
The timing of breeding in the common myna varies greatly across its range, but the breeding season generally runs from April to July in India (2). Pairs form at the start of each season and usually mate for life, with a small territory around the favoured nesting site defended each year (2) (6). The male and female cooperate to build an untidy cup-shaped nest out of twigs, grass, leaves and refuse in a cavity of a tree or building, or in a hole in an earthen bank or cliff. Usually 4 to 5 eggs are laid and incubated, mostly by the female, for 13 to 18 days. The chicks fledge after around 22 to 27 days in the nest, but continue to be fed by the adult birds for up to a further 3 weeks (2). The young birds reach sexual maturity at a year of age, with an average life expectancy of around 4 years in the wild, although some individuals may reach 12 years of age (6).