A large nesting colony of Bank Myna spotted

DUBAI — A large nesting colony of Bank Myna, a variety of the common Myna or Pied Starling, has been spotted off Warsan in Dubai. This is arguably the largest breeding ground for this bird in the UAE, though it is commonly seen in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and other parts of the country.

By A Staff Reporter

Published: Mon 23 Apr 2007, 8:37 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:43 AM

According to Reza Khan, Head of Dubai Zoo, the bird with the zoological name, Acridotheres ginginianus, is commonly seen in the belt stretching from the Sindh Province in Pakistan to Bangladesh.

He said the nests were spotted in a desert area, off the Dubai Municipality-run Sewage Treatment Plant in Warsan.

“Prior to 1990, there was hardly any Bank Myna visible in any part of the UAE barring a few farming areas in Ras Al Khaimah. This bird was introduced to the UAE’s environment from some specimens that flew free from pet shops and pet bird owners in the late 1980s and early 1990s when visitors returning from India used to bring cages full of exotic birds from the subcontinent. In those days, Sharjah bird shops were full of mynas and starlings.

First, Bank Mynas settled in RAK. Later, it moved on to occupy areas in Dhaid, Sharjah, Dubai and Al Ain,” said Khan.

He added that the nests in Warsan house a large number of birds.

“There are more than 100 nesting holes on the three steep banks of the pit. When I spotted the area, it was late morning — and the temperature must have crossed 35 degrees centigrade. Hundreds of mynas were visiting the nesting holes — 50 to 100 cm deep horizontal tunnels — dug by the mynas themselves. Many were carrying food in their bill. This suggested that the colony is full with chicks,” said Khan.

Bank Myna has nearly the same size of the common Myna or Pied Starling, which is approximately 25 cm. It is an omnivore eating almost anything that is edible including fruits of figs, banyan, sidr, ber or jujube, dates, Manila Tamarind or Inga dulcis, Miswak or Salvadora persica, and insects, worms, lizards and baby birds.

Its name Bank Myna comes from the bird’s habit of building nests on steep banks of rivers, canals, dams, and masonry works in old buildings and bridges. It usually lives and breeds in colonies. A large population of the Bank Myna lives in the area between the American University of Sharjah and the Cantonment in Sharjah and Al Ain City.

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