Locally Called – Gursal, Ablak, Ablaki Maina
Scientific name – Gracupica contra
Conservation status – Least Concern, instead population on a rise!
Pied Myna is a contrasting black and white bird, with the upper parts, throat and chest being black and the cheeks, lores (areas between the eyes and the bill), wing coverts and rump being white. The bare skin around the eyes are orange to reddish. The bill is yellowish with a reddish bill base. Males and females look alike.
They produce a wide repertoire of calls consisting of whistles, trills, buzzes, clicks and warbling notes. They make well known for their outstanding ability to mimic human speech and imitate tunes.
Where are they found?
Also called as Asian Pied Starlings occur naturally on the plains and low foothills of the Indian Subcontinent (South Asia) and Southeast Asia up to 2,300 feet (700 meters) above sea level. These starlings typically remain in areas with easy access to open water. Their diet mostly consists of insects, worms, spiders, etc. and various fruits. Over the last decades, they have expanded their territories. Populations of them have also established themselves in Dubai.
They have also adapted well to urban living and are often seen in cities and villages, and are generally seen in small groups. In urban environments, they are becoming so abundant that they are considered pests by many human residents. International union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN, 2006) recently listed them as among “100 of the World’s Most Invasive Species”.
How is their living like?
The breeding activities have been recorded between March and October. As the breeding season commences, flocks break up and birds pair up, although several pairs may breed in the same vicinity. The courtship ritual involves calling, fluffing of the feathers and head bobbing.
The nest is placed on a large tree (often banyan, mango, jackfruit or rosewood) or in urban areas, on man-made structures. It is loosely constructed out of straw into the shape of a dome with an entrance on the side.
A clutch consists of 4 – 6 glossy blue eggs, which are laid one every other day. The incubation usually starts after the third or fourth egg has been laid. The young hatch about 14 to 15 days later. The female broods the chicks for about two weeks, with the female staying at the nest during the night. The chicks are fed by both parents until they fledge about three weeks later. One instance of inter-specific feeding has been reported – where a Common Myna fed a young Asian Pied Starling.
I never get hungry while studying nor is mobile a distraction for me as food and tech exist in my life because of their necessity. My study table is right next to our french window and so the sound and view of these beautiful birds becomes my distraction. Pied Myna is just the start, stay tuned many more Birds coming up in this series of Bird WIse