Bank myna -- 灰背岸八哥 (Acridotheres ginginianus)

Bank myna walking
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Bank myna fact file

Bank myna description

GenusAcridotheres (1)

A bold and confident bird, the bank myna has a close association with human habitation in many towns across South Asia. This familiar urban inhabitant has a distinctive appearance, having pale bluish-grey plumage, red eye patches, a short crest of dark bristly feathers on the forehead, a glossy black tail tipped with white, and a grey chin and breast tinged with cinnamon (2) (3). The feet and legs are yellow and the bill is a bold orange-yellow. The male and female birds are similar in appearance, but the juvenile lacks the forehead crest and is browner than the adult, with a pale throat and a pale patch on the side of the neck (2). Like other birds of the Sturnidae family, the bank myna has large and strong feet that allow it to walk on the ground rather than hop, and the stout, straight bill enables it to be fairly flexible in its food choice (4). This curious bird may also be identified by its ceaseless, loud chattering of various conversational-like gurgles and whistles (4) (5).

Also known as
bank mynah, mank mynah.
Length: 22 cm (2)
64 - 76 cm (2)

Bank myna biology

A versatile and supreme opportunist, the omnivorous bank myna consumes a wide variety of food types, including frogs, snails, earthworms and other animal matter, as well as fruits and seeds (2). In urban areas it scavenges on the ground amongst people in busy markets or at refuse heaps, and in rural areas it is often found following ploughs to feed on upturned insects (7). It also regularly settles on the back of cattle to remove ticks from them. As a highly sociable species, the bank myna often feeds in large flocks and gathers into large roosts, usually in reedbeds during the winter or in tall trees or buildings at other times of the year (2)

The bank myna generally breeds between May and August, with monogamous pairs forming at the start of each season (2) (3). It excavates a long, narrow tunnel in which to build its nest, almost exclusively in an earthen bank or cliff, with the tunnel often connecting to others within a large breeding colony (2) (7). The bulky nest is constructed out of grass, feathers and refuse and stuffed into the end of the tunnel (2) (3). Usually three to five glossy, pale blue eggs are laid and incubated for around 13 days, mostly by the female (2) (3). Both adult birds cooperate to feed the chicks, which fledge from the nest around 20 to 22 days after hatching (2).


Bank myna range

The bank myna naturally occurs from eastern Pakistan across the Himalayan foothills to eastern and south Nepal and Bhutan, and southwards to north-central India and Bangladesh. It has been introduced to Japan and the United Arab Emirates, where it has spread to several neighbouring countries, including Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia (2) (6). It is also found in Taiwan where the population is thought to be result of escaped captive birds becoming established in the wild (2).


Bank myna habitat

The bank myna has a close association with man-made habitats and regularly enters cities and agricultural lands (2) (4). In urban areas it is found around refuse dumps and wherever food is discarded, and on farmland and in open-countryside it is often found with cattle, favouring wetter areas where it forages along the banks of rivers or irrigation canals (2) (7). It nests in holes in banks, a feature that has earned the species its common name, and roosts in reedbeds (7). In Nepal, the bank myna has an altitudinal range of 76 to 1,370 metres (3).


Bank myna status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Bank myna threats

While the population size of the bank myna is currently unknown, it is considered to be a fairly common species across much of its range, except for in Bhutan where it is thought to be relatively rare (6). This species’ ability to occupy urban areas and feed on refuse means that it is likely resilient to all but the most major of threats. 


Bank myna conservation

As there are currently no known major threats to the bank myna, it has not been the target of any specific conservation measures. It is, however, a hugely under-studied species, and further research is required to assess if there are any threats to the species, so that informed conservation recommendations can be made (2).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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To keep eggs warm so that development is possible.
Having only one mate during a breeding season, or throughout the breeding life of a pair.
Feeding on both plants and animals.


  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2009)
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliot, A. and Sargatal, J. (2009) Handbook of Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-Shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. Kumar Shrestha, T. (2001) Birds of Nepal: Field Ecology, Natural History and Conservation. R.K. Printers, Kathmandu, Nepal.
  4. Perrins, C. (2009) The Encyclopedia of Birds. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Grewal, B., Harvey, B. and Pfister, O. (2003) A Photographic Guide to the Birds of India: And the Indian Subcontinent, Including Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
  6. BirdLife International (September, 2010)
  7. Whistler, H. (2007) Popular Handbook of Indian Birds. Gurney and Jackson, London.

Image credit

Bank myna walking  
Bank myna walking

© Hanne & Jens Eriksen /

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