Ever seen either of these guys hanging around your garden? You may be interested to know that one is an introduced pest, whereas one is a native Australian bird!
Common “Indian” Mynas (pictured left) are an introduced species. They were introduced into the cane fields of north-eastern Queensland in 1883, to combat insect pests, particularly plague locusts and cane beetles. The birds are identified as being brown with a black head. They have a yellow bill, legs and bare eye skin. In flight they show large white wing patches. Indian Mynas are actually the most invasive species in the world! They take over nesting hollows and evict other birds and small mammals, whist preying on nestlings.
On the other hand – Noisy Miners (pictured right) are Aussie native honeyeaters! The Noisy Miner is a bold and curious bird. It is identified by its mostly grey body and black crown and cheeks. The bill is yellow, as are the legs and the bare skin behind the eye. The name is well suited as the common calls are uttered repeatedly by the members of the colony. The Noisy Miner feeds on nectar, fruits and insects. Very occasionally they will eat small reptiles and amphibians. Food is either taken from trees or on the ground. In keeping with its highly social nature, the Noisy Miner usually feeds in large groups. They’re quite feisty and cheeky (and a bit bossy!) but otherwise harmless.
Often the similar yellow patch behind their eyes, and the alike name can confuse gardeners. They are not related in any way – The Indian Myna belongs to the starling family, whereas the Noisy Miner are honeyeaters.
You can discourage Indian Mynas from your Australian garden. Here are some handy tips:
- Keep less open grassed areas in your garden.
- Create garden beds with dense planting. This will be a safe haven for smaller birds.
- Provide small bird houses which only small birds can access.
Article written with the assistance of Birds In Backyards