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Myna- Unwelcome Birds of Samoa!

August 13, 2012

Since the 1980’s, two members of the starling family have invaded Tutuila, and are now among our commonest birds. These are the black and white mynas that are common from Pago Pago Harbor to Leone. Two species of mynas are established here, both of which were originally native to India. The Common Myna is brownish black, with a yellow bill and a yellow patch of bare skin around the eye. The Jungle Myna is similar, but is darker and slimmer, with an orange beak and no yellow skin around the eye.

Jungle Myna

Both species have large white patches in the wings and tail. The Common Myna is a major pest in many parts of the Pacific, including New Zealand, Hawaii, Fiji, Cook Islands, and French Polynesia. The Jungle Myna has become established only in Fiji and in the Samoan islands. Both species eat almost anything and are very happy in cities and villages, where they eat garbage and nest under roofs even in occupied buildings. These unwelcome invaders can damage guavas and other fruit crops, can spread disease, and may compete with our native birds in villages. So far, the mynas have not yet spread to the Manu’a Islands. It is important that we prevent their spread, and reserve American Samoa, as much as possible, for our native birds, including our native starlings, the fuia or Samoan starling and the miti vao or Polynesian starling.

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