Myna in dock for pushing out native birds
Sydney: The common myna, listed as the third most invasive species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, has now been convicted of pushing other native birds out of their homes.
Debate has raged for more than a decade about the damage caused by swelling myna populations, both in Australia and other countries. These birds are known to communicate in a singsong manner.
Now Australian researchers have come up with what is thought to be the world's first clear proof that mynas do indeed have a negative impact on native bird numbers, the journal Public Library of Science ONE reported.
Kate Grarock and colleagues at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) and Australian National University investigated 20 bird species around Canberra, analysing ornithological records collected by the Canberra Ornithologists Group (COG).
A total of 74,492 surveys were conducted in Canberra over 29 years.
"We found a negative relationship between the establishment of the Common Myna and the long-term abundance of three Australian cavity-nesting species and eight small bird species," Grarock said, according to a CEED statement.
The affected birds include the sulphur-crested cockatoo, crimson rosella, laughing kookaburra, and small birds such as the superb fairy-wren, striated pardalote, rufous whistler, willie wagtail, grey fantail, magpie-lark, house sparrow, silvereye and common blackbird.
Mynas were introduced into Australia in 1862, originally to control insect pests at the Melbourne markets. A pair was brought to Canberra in 1968.