Name: Acridotheres tristis
Native Range: Asia
Introduced Range: South Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, United States (Florida), and more.
Introduction: Myna birds have been introduced onto almost every tropical or subtropical oceanic island and Australia. Recently, they’ve expanded to northern France and southern Florida. In many countries, like Fiji, mynas were intentionally introduced to control pests on sugar cane crops. Now, they are one of only three birds mentioned on the world’s 100 most invasive species list.
Why are they harmful?: In India, myna birds are symbols of “undying love”, because many will mate for life. They’re also called the “Farmer’s friend” because they eat insects that destroy crops. In their invaded range, however, they damage bananas, pawpaws, chilis, and other crops that are a necessary source of income for rural farmers. They are also simply annoying: they steal food from kitchens, pollute drinking water with droppings, and congregate on building roofs in large numbers, causing houses to smell. And they are LOUD.
Most disturbingly, mynas are fiercely territorial and have been observed destroying the eggs of other native birds. Although they only use one nest during breeding season, they create many nests simply to reduce the available nesting space for other birds. They also harass other native birds by pushing hatchlings from their nests and chasing birds away from food sources, sometimes just for fun.
Methods of control: Some have used chemical control (poisons), but this method is quite expensive and kills household birds and pets if accidentally consumed. A cheaper and more humane method is a Pee Gee (PG) trap that lures mynas in with food. This trap is environmentally friendly and catches the birds live, meaning that non-targeted animals and birds can easily be released, unharmed. A study conducted in rural Fijian villages found that a PG trap collect about 30% of resident mynas, although these traps need to be monitored frequently as they are sometimes disturbed by village kids of predators like cats and dogs. Another method is removing myna nests, although in urban areas nests can be difficult to reach, as they are often on building roofs.
Sources: Florida Fish and Wildlife, Invasive Species Compendium, GISD