Acridotheres tristis | Common myna | Míona coiteann
Regulated Invasive Alien Species of Union concern under the European Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species [1143/2014].
First reported in the wild
Not present in Ireland or Northern Ireland
Non-native species - Low risk of Impact
Introduction pathways - 1
Escape from Confinement
Introduction pathways subclass - 1
Introduction pathways - 2
Introduction pathways subclass - 2
Hitchhikers on ship/boat
NAPRA Ireland risk assessed
Common myna (A. tristis) stands at a height of 23-26 cm and has a wingspan of 12-14.2 cm (CABI, 2021). Its weight can range from 82-143 grams depending on the individual (CABI, 2021). It has mostly brown plumage with a black head, neck and upper breast (CABI, 2021). The head also contains an erectile crest (Invasive Species Ireland, 2021). The legs, feet and bill are all yellow (Invasive Species Ireland, 2021).There is no obvious sexual dimorphism (difference in appearance between males and females) in this species thus; they cannot be separated in the field (CABI, 2021).
A stand-out identification feature of this species is the fact that the move along the ground by walking rather than hopping (Invasive Species Ireland, 2021).
Common myna is an omnivorous species that feeds on plant material such as fruits, berries, nectar, and grains as well as animal material such as beetle larvae, caterpillars, snails, worms and spiders (CABI, 2021). In addition, A. tristis can be seen feeding on roadkill, animal feed and scavenging through rubbish (CABI, 2021). This wide feeding spectrum and opportunistic nature may work to increase the ability of A. tristis to successfully establish itself in new ecosystems, as food availability is less of an issue compared to specialist feeders.
Acridotheres tristis is native to Central Asia and Afghanistan but their range is constantly expanding northwards where it has reached as far as southern Russian states (Scalera et al., 2017). Although a tropical species by nature, A. tristis is more than capable of adapting to a variety of climates thus, increasing its effectiveness as an invasive species (Scalera et al., 2017).
A. tristis breeds all year round and can have multiple clutches over the course of the year (Scalera et al., 2017).
Biodiversity -A. tristis can put pressure on native bird species through predation of eggs and young birds (Scalera et al., 2017). This may result in the decline of various native bird species if A. tristis was to establish itself in Ireland. Another impact comes in the form of this non-native species competing with native wildlife for resources such as food and space (Scalera et al., 2017).
Economic - A. tristis has the potential to act as an agricultural pest that may feed on seeds and fruits should their normal food source (mostly insects) become less abundant (Scalera et al., 2017). Various crops such as maize, wheat, apples and tomatoes may be fed on by A. tristis (Scalera et al., 2017).
Social - Due to the fact that they roost communally, A. tristis can be quite unruly in large numbers, making significant amounts of noise and tarnishing the immediate area with droppings and other materials (Scalera et al., 2017).
Within their native range, A. tristis can be found in a variety of habitats such as flood plains, grasslands, scrub, cultivated land, plantations, desert oases and the base of various mountain ranges (Scalera et al., 2017).
Mechanism of impact
Competition, Predation, Disease transmission, Interaction with other invasive species, Other
As Common myna is listed as an Invasive Alien Species of Union concern under the EU Regulations of Invasive Alien Species, it cannot be imported, traded, or released to the wild. Measures must also be taken to prevent spread of existing populations of it (European Commission, 2017).
One of the most effective management approaches is to prevent this species from becoming established in the first place, thus eliminating the need to take any further action to combat the issue. Tackling the issue of transport and subsequent release of A. tristis is perhaps one of the most impactful management methods (CABI, 2021). This involves strict biosecurity protocols in areas like border crossings all the way down to smaller scales such as educating the public on the topic so that people keeping these animals as pets, do not allow them to enter the natural environment (CABI, 2021).
Where A. tristis populations have become established, various measures can be implemented to actively attempt to control the population. The implementation of foraging traps may be considered whereby A. tristis is captured with various live trap designs and humanely euthanized via carbon dioxide (Global Invasive Species Database, 2011).
The shooting of A. tristis has been employed as a management method in the past with mixed success. Although it undoubtedly helps with initial control of the species, long term shooting as a management method may not be as effective as the birds learn to avoid hunters over time(CABI, 2021).
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated pest management (IMP) is a form of long term pest management that will work to control an invasive pest over time through a multifaceted approach such as habitat modification, recourse limitation and public education (Global Invasive Species Database, 2011). It can be looked at as the culmination of multiple A. tristis targeting management methods in to one, more impactful management approach that will work to greater effect than any single management tool would.
This species has been chemically managed in the past using 3-chloro-p-toluidine hydrochloride (DRC1339), a toxicant known as Starlicide (Global Invasive Species Database, 2011; CABI, 2021). This toxin is said to impair kidney function in A. tristis and is less toxic to mammals, giving some form of selectivity to the approach and theoretically reducing collateral damage (CABI, 2021). This may act as a last resort in very specific scenarios as there seems to be potential for collateral damage to other species and other environmental damage also.
Temperate Asia, Tropical Asia
Acridotheres tristis stands at about the same height as the Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) however, A. tristis is typically more brown in colouration with a greyish-brown hood (Scalera et al., 2017).
Records submitted to Data Centre in 2022
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How can you help
Report any sightings of this species to the National Biodiversity Data Centre, including a photograph, if possible.
If you own one, do not allow it to reproduce or enter the natural environment. It is illegal to set this species free in Ireland.
Do not purchase this species as a pet.
CABI Invasive Species Compendium: https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/2994
Global Invasive Species Database: http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=108
CABI, 2021. Acridotheres tristis (common myna). [online] Available at: <https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/2994> [Accessed 24 Jun. 2021].
European Commission, 2017. Invasive Alien Species of Union concern. [online] Luxembourg. Available at: <https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/pdf/IAS_brochure_species.pdf> [Accessed 25 Jun. 2021].
Global Invasive Species Database, 2011. Acridotheres tristis. [online] Available at: <http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=108> [Accessed 25 Jun. 2021].
Invasive Species Ireland, 2021. Common myna. [online] Available at: <http://invasivespeciesireland.com/species-accounts/potential/terrestrial/common-myna> [Accessed 24 Jun. 2021].
Scalera, R., Rabitsch, W., Genovesi, P., Adriaens, T., Robertson, P., Moore, N., Booy, O., Chamman, D. and Kettunen, M., 2017. Study on Invasive Alien Species – Development of risk assessments to tackle priority species and enhance prevention Contract No 07.0202/2016/740982/ETU/ENV.D2 Final Report Annex 1: Risk Assessment for Acridotheres tristis (Linnaeus 1766). [online] Available at: <https://circabc.europa.eu/faces/jsp/extension/wai/navigation/container.jsp?FormPrincipal:_idcl=FormPrincipal:_id1&FormPrincipal_SUBMIT=1&id=5c5e6056-2888-4b2e-ae94-b501e25085a5&javax.faces.ViewState=6F3%2B%2B3sjbjGFWpk%2BcXxLjduSZPTcX5x9%2FvHuUGOcG0Yb879h> [Accessed 24 Jun. 2021].