Mynas can express their annoyance too

Common Mynas Acrodotheres tristis like eggs. They have been recorded eating the eggs of many species, large sad small. In the process, they can endanger the survival of some of the world’s most endangered island endemic birds.

A Common Myna approaching a Lesser Noddy nest (Photo: Camille Lebarbenchon)

Seabird eggs are often large and thus offer introduced Mynas a substantial meal. In 2015 Christine and I, and two French colleagues, Camille Lebarbenchon and Muriel Dietrich, reported our observation of Mynas using guile and co-operative planning to take eggs of Lesser Noddies Anous tenuirostrisI, Brown Noddies Anous stolidus, and Sooty Terns, Onychoprion fuscatus, on Bird Island, Seychelles.

This morning, 19 June, during breakfast in Bird Island’s restaurant, I was watching a pair of Mynas searching among Lesser Noddy nests in a Cordia sebestena tree. By moving among the nests they hope to disturb an incubating bird, stimulating it to leave its nest, so that one of the Mynas can take the egg. During this process the Mynas are silent.

On this occasion, both Mynas suddenly began to utter loud alarm calls. The egg had been dropped and was quickly picked up by a Moorhen Gallinula chloropus and carried away to a patch of long grass, where the bird devoured its unexpected breakfast. The Mynas continued to express their displeasure for some seconds, but they knew they would be no match for a Moorhen in battle and so abandoned their hope for that egg and resumed their search for another.

For more information see: Feare, C.J., Lebarbenchon, C., Dietrich, M. & Larose, C.S. 2015. Predation of seabird eggs by Common Mynas Acridotheres tristis on Bird Island, Seychelles, and its broader implications. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 22: 162-170.

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