Mynah Bird: Breed Profile

Mynah bird

If you are looking for a talkative and intelligent bird for your home, the tropical mynah bird is the pet for you. Its striking features and friendly nature make it a popular bird among bird lovers, who consider it one of the best imitators of human speech after the gray parrot. 

Origin and history

Mynah are of the Sturnidae or starling family. This soft-billed species is native to Africa, India, Southeast Asia and Indonesia. In ancient Greece, the myna bird was an aristocratic pet.

The word “Mynah” comes from the Hindi word “maina” and the Sanskrit word “madana”, meaning “charming and full of life”. In Indian literature, the bird has several names, such as kalahapriya (one who likes to argue), chitranetra (colorful eyes), peetanetra (one with yellow eyes) and peetapaad (one with yellow legs).

The two main species of mainas kept as pets are the mountain maina and the common maina. The mountain maina is the species that most western owners take as a pet and can “talk” like a human. The common meadowlark is often considered a pest and is one of the most invasive bird species in the world. It was introduced into non-native habitats to contain insects. As an insecticide, the bird was a success, but the territorial maina often displaced native birds and decimated their food supply.

A third species, the Bali Maina, is a rare and endangered species. Only fewer than 100 Bali Maina are left in the wild.


Mane birds are cheerful, sociable birds and have a wonderful, outgoing personalities. They are friendly, intelligent, and adapt well to caged life, making them an excellent pet for captive breeding. Hand-reared hatchlings are fully accustomed to humans and tend to make better pets. As young birds, they are easier to tame and make talk. They enjoy contact with humans but are not as willing to cuddle or learn tricks.

Familiarize your new bird early on with different people, including both sexes, different age groups, and new situations, e.g., car rides, vet visits, and different rooms in the house. A myna bird usually establishes a stronger bond with the person who pays the most attention to it, and is responsible for vocal training and feeding and cleaning the cage.

Maned birds may attack smaller birds. If you have more than one type of bird, it is best to keep them separate from mynas.

Language and vocalization

If you have a pet myna bird, be prepared for it to do more than just repeat what you say. These birds have a wide and varied vocalization repertoire that includes whistles, squeaks, and other sounds that sound oddly human-sounding. 

Mountain Mainas and Common Mainas are known for their ability to imitate the human voice. They can learn up to 100 words. The secret to teaching your Mynah to talk is repetition and patience. Choose the word or phrase you want your bird to learn and pronounce the word clearly, repeating it over and over again.

Mynah Colors and Markings

The mountain micron has a black body, reddish-orange bill, and yellow legs and feet. Its cousin, the common maina, has a dark brown body with a black head and throat and yellow bill and feet. The rare and endangered Bali maina has a white body, black wingtips and tail, blue eye area, and yellow bill. Both sexes are monomorphic, i.e., they look alike. Other than genetic testing or determining which bird lays the eggs, there is no reliable way to tell them apart.

Care of the Mynah bird

Mynah birds are very active and like to hop from perch to perch. They need a large cage; the minimum cage size for a mynah bird should be 4 feet wide, 2 feet high, and about 2 feet deep. The cage should have several perches at different heights and with different widths, diameters, and textures. Different types of perches allow for leg movement. Natural perches are best.

Provide a nest box for the bird to roost in. Keep the cage protected from the wind and cover it at night to prevent drafts. Also, you shouldn’t place the cage near the kitchen, the mynahs are very sensitive to smoke and strong odors.

Mynah birds like to bathe. So provide them with a bowl or dish large enough for them to splash in a few inches of warm water. Baths help birds care for their feathers by removing dust, dander, loose feathers, and mites while moisturizing them. Air conditioning and heating systems can dry out birds’ skin. You can also spray your maina with a spray bottle. Do not put your bird in the shower; the shower spray may be too strong.

General health problems

Mynas tend to develop certain liver problems and hemochromatosis, or iron storage disease. In blackbirds, hemochromatosis appears to be related to high dietary iron intake. Carefully monitor the amount of iron in the diet.

Diet and nutrition

In the wild, the mountain mynah feeds primarily on fruits. The maina is omnivorous and feeds on fruits, nectar, and insects.

In captivity, feed a soft pellet mixture containing 18 percent protein, 8 percent fat, and very little iron to counteract a disease caused by iron malabsorption. Pellets should make up about 50 percent of the diet.

You can offer ripe, sweet bananas, apples, dates, grapes, peaches, mango, papaya, oranges, pineapple, pears, plums, and watermelon. Avoid excessive bananas, as they contain a lot of sugar. Do not give dried fruits that are high in iron, such as raisins. Remove seeds from fruits; they can be toxic. Also avoid giving green vegetables that are high in iron, such as peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. Be sure to cut vegetables and fruits into bite-sized pieces; mynas do not chew their food.

You can supplement their diet with mealworms, crickets, or wax mice. If you are breeding your mynas, mealworms should make up at least 5% of the breeding pair’s diet and be available for the mother to feed the young.

As a rule of thumb, you should offer your bird 1/4 cup of pellets and 1/4 cup of fruits and vegetables daily. Increase the amount as needed. Remove uneaten food to prevent spoilage.

Mynas should always have access to fresh drinking water, with distilled or filtered water being preferable.


Mynah birds need exercise and should be let out of the cage for at least an hour each day. Make sure you have closed all windows and doors, turned off ceiling fans, and removed other pets before letting your bird out of its cage.

Mynah birds like to play with toys such as mirrors, bells, bottle caps, and other small objects. Toys will keep them busy. Avoid string toys as they can get caught in your bird’s tongue or toenails.


  • Social and friendly
  • Intelligent and can speak up to 100 words


  • Can be noisy, so not suitable for homes (especially at dawn and dusk).
  • Does not like to cuddle or learn tricks

Where can you adopt or buy a mynah bird?

Mountain mynahs are so popular as pets that the demand for these birds far exceeds their ability to breed in captivity. You probably won’t find a myna bird at your local pet store. Most people buy mynas as pets from breeders. The birds are sold at prices ranging from $500 to $1,500. Rescue organizations, adoption centers, and breeders where you can find mynah birds include:

  • Adopt a pet
  • Pechinas for sale
  • Bird breeder

The signs of a healthy bird are clear and bright eyes, clean and smooth plumage, a good appetite curious and an active temperament. Stay away from birds that have runny noses or mouths, have had their feathers matted for a long time, or are sitting on the cage floor. Have your new bird examined by your veterinarian after purchase.

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