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the web of life in southern Africa

Acridotheres tristis (Common myna, Indian Myna) 

Indiese spreeu [Afrikaans]; Treurmaina [Dutch]; Martin triste [French]; Hirtenmaina [German]; Mainato [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Sturnidae

Acridotheres tristis (Common myna, Indian Myna)   

Common myna, North-West Province, South Africa. [photo Johan van Rensburg ]


Distribution and habitat

Originally from India, central and southern Asia, it was introduced to many islands in the Pacific and Atlantic, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Brunei, Sumatra and South Africa. Here it is locally abundant in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the eastern Free State, marginally extending into the North-West Province and the Eastern Cape. It generally prefers urban areas and farms in the immediate vicinity of buildings and other structures.

Distribution of Common myna in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project ( Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Great spotted cuckoo.


It mainly eats a invertebrates, fruit and seeds, doing most of its foraging on the ground, briskly walking around and probing the soil. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Invertebrates
  • Plants
    • fruit
      • figs
      • dates
      • pears
      • grapes
      • guavas
    • seeds
      • maize
      • wheat
      • rice
    • nectar
      • Aloe
      • Erythrina (Coral-tree)
  • Human food scraps


  • The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of an untidy structure made of grass, twigs, hair and man-made materials, such as paper, cloth, string and plastic pieces. It is typically placed in a building, more rarely in a free-standing tree or a cavity in a branch.
  • Egg-laying season is year-round, peaking from September-January.
  • It lays 2-6 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 13-18 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 22-35 days, becoming fully independent several weeks later.


Unprotected alien in southern Africa, although thankfully it has had no significant impact on rural and natural habitats.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.