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Crested Myna
Acridotheres cristatellus
Order
PASSERIFORMES
– Family
STURNIDAE
Authors: Johnson, Stephen R., and R. Wayne Campbell

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Introduction

Crested Myna adult; Tsim Bei Tsui, Hong Kong.
Figure 1. Distribution of the Crested Myna in North America.

Editor's Note: By Feb. 2003, populations of this introduced species were reported extirpated in North America. See the 46th supplement of the AOU Checklist of N. American birds for details.


The Crested Myna is an introduced songbird from southern China and northern Indochina that has successfully colonized urban and agricultural habitats in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Apparently only one or two pairs from Hong Kong-Macao either escaped or were released prior to 1897 to found the entire Vancouver colony. This population increased markedly in southwestern mainland British Columbia between 1897 and 1927. During peak abundance in the 1920s and early 1930s, thousands of individuals inhabited Vancouver, and individuals were also reported from southern Vancouver Island; south as far as Blaine and Bellingham, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and near Seattle, Washington. A small breeding colony established at Nanaimo, on southeast Vancouver Island, in the 1950s persisted until the late 1960s.

By 1959 the North American population of Crested Mynas had declined to 2,000 to 3,000 birds, and their distribution on the British Columbia mainland contracted to include only the Greater Vancouver area. A 1980 census estimated 2,537 birds in the Greater Vancouver area. Systematic winter counts and sight records indicate that as of the mid-1990s there are probably less than 100 Crested Mynas scattered throughout the Greater Vancouver area. Reasons for this steady decline over the past several decades probably reflect maladaptation to the Vancouver climate in recent decades, increased competition with European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) which invaded British Columbia in the early 1950s, changes in building structures (fewer crevices and ledges), and loss of agricultural habitat to urban development. The Crested Myna is likely to be extirpated from North America within several decades.

Crested Mynas nest in cavities or crevices in buildings, poles, or trees, behind vines on buildings, or in nest boxes. Established pairs may use the same site for many years; one nest was reported to have been occupied by breeding mynas for more than 30 years. On average, an adult’s diet is about 60 percent fruits and berries and 40 percent invertebrates. Nestlings consume slightly more invertebrates. Compared to its only close relative in North America, the European Starling, the Crested Myna has retained incubation behavioral traits more adapted to tropical than temperate climates. Consequently, incubation schedules and hatching and fledging successes for this species are lower than for European Starlings and lower than for Crested Myna eggs incubated and hatched by European Starlings.

Unless otherwise stated, the following information refers to Crested Mynas in the Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, area.