Monday, September 29, 2014

Crested Mynah (Acridotheres cristatellus)

(26 cm.) All black; prominent crest; white patches in wings easily seen in flight

The Crested Mynah is a large member of the starling family, “Sturnidae”. It is the only mynah species which can be found in the temperate portion of China. Other mynah species are birds of the tropics, requiring the hot temperatures that these latitudes provide. The small flocks of Crested Mynahs this writer sees in Qingdao’s parks may be the northernmost colony of this species in the country.

This species gets its name from its prominent crest, a feature which other Asian mynah species lack. Its uniform black coloration and conspicuous white wing patches are also signature markings.

Many birds of this species are trapped and sold on the caged bird market in this country. They are popular cage birds due to their unique vocal abilities including a talent for mimicry. Caged birds can be taught to speak human words without little difficulty. Of course, the birds cannot understand the meanings of the words they speak, but their human owners enjoy listening to them, anyway. In nature, mynahs will imitate the calls of other bird species.

The Crested Mynah is a bird of open country such as farmland, field, and pasture. Its love of this habitat makes it an ideal urban dweller. City parks and gardens offer this bird just this kind of habitat.

This bird, like all members of the starling family, is an omnivore which will subsist on primarily fruits, insects and other small invertebrates. This species will usually be found strutting on the ground in search of food in parks and gardens in urban areas.

Photo by Brian Westland

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