myna or mynah (both: mĪˈnə) [key], common name for any of a number of species of Asian starlings found chiefly in India and Sri Lanka, some of which are known for vocal mimicry. Most familiar is the hill myna, Gracula religiosa, a large (12–15 in./30–38 cm), glossy black bird with yellow head wattles. It is a forest dweller and lives mostly on fruits. In the wild state its calls vary from low chuckles to loud whistles; when trained it is a better mimic than the parrot. The common myna of S Asia, genus Acridotheres, is smaller (10 in./25 cm) and not so good a mimic. It and some other myna species have been introduced in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and elsewhere, and in these locations the common myna especially has often become an invasive species. The yellow-faced and long-tailed mynas are found on some islands of the S Pacific. Some species, such as the Bali mynah, are highly endangered. Mynas are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Sturnidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.